Fighting The War On Terror In London One Gig At A Time

Posted with permission from Wayne

Written by Wayne of

Fit and the Conniptions

Nov. 12, 2008

I’m not making it up. Since the end of last year the Metropolitan police in London have powers to close down any live music event where they have not been given the personal details including addresses and phone numbers of all performers involved at least two weeks in advance.

The Register has written about it here and Billboard also has an article. Both articles provide details about the evidence given by UK Music CEO Feargal Sharkey to the House of Commons Select Committee for Culture, Media and Sport. (It’s not up yet as I type but those committee transcripts are archived here.) Incredibly, according to Sharkey, one council cited ‘prevention of terrorism’ as part of their reasoning.

The form promoters are supposed to use to provide this information is called form 696 and you can view it directly here or via this page on the Met website. As the article on The Register points out, the suggested genres of music listed in form 696 itself include RnB, Garage, and Bashment. Genres of music which, as El Reg puts it, are ‘favoured by the black community’.

It’s bad enough, stupid enough, pointless enough and draconian enough as it is without the racist element to it. But this is the thing – I’ve done rather a lot of gigs since the end of last year – both as Fit and the Conniptions and with other outfits – and I’ve never once been asked to provide my home address to a promoter. Then again, I’m white.

It’s not that I’m against having events properly policed if they are large enough that they need to be, including live music events. But if anyone can explain how having the home phone numbers of all the musicians on stage helps the police to do their job I’ll be astonished.