Mark Thomas's busker protest | 'Act of dissent' over rule change

Mark Thomas's busker protest

'Act of dissent' over rule change

Mark Thomas has organised a guerrilla busking gig in protest at new by-laws clamping down on street musicians.

He will be joined by Billy Bragg and the Citizens Kazoo Orchestra for the 40th of 100 ‘acts of minor dissent’ he is planning for the year.

It is in protest at planned changes by Camden Council in North London requiring buskers to register for a permit, with a possible cost, following complaints about noise. Buskers say it will threaten the soul of a borough known for its music scene

Thomas said: ‘The proposed  by-law is stupid, draconian and unnecessary. It smacks of making laws for the sake of making laws rather than trying to find practical and fair ways of dealing with potential problems.

‘Busking is wonderfully democratic (as a rule the good and the nice earn money and eat and the bad and the rude don't) and it is a vibrant part of our city culture.

‘Making new buskers pay for a license amounts to a tax on spontaneity and having a go at something.

‘The busk on Thursday will hopefully highlight this ill-conceived nonsense and will feature the Citizens Kazoo Orchestra. If this law is introduced then the CKO will break the by-laws as wind instruments are banned. If the law is passed the kazoos can be seized by the police. Good luck to them.’   Billy Bragg added: ‘If buskers are removed from the streets of Camden due to complaints about noise, their place in the food-chain will be taken by an army of living statues - silver-painted gargoyles on every corner.

‘Such artists have their place, but I'd rather hear a living musician playing a tune on the streets of what must be the most musical borough in London.’

The protest, also featuring DJ Jonny Walker and singer-songwriter Jon Gomm, will be staged outside Camden Town Tube station this Thursday at 1.15pm.

Published: 22 Oct 2013

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