Sunday, 28 December 2008

They started work this morning down at city square

It's been a good Christmas season for me generally, and I finished the year with a brace of great gigs, including New Model Army at the Astoria, for what I figured was going to be the last time.  I don't want there to be 'a last Astoria gig' but if there has to be, that was a good one.

Turns out I was right - Closing Day has been announced as the 15th January. London's now short two great venues, and more memories than I can begin to document are now homeless. 

(I said a while back that I didn't care overly about the small Astoria 2, but over the last year I've seen so many excellent shows there, I'm upset to loose that too.)

And then, to continue the less-than-happy music news over the holidays, I read this article: How Form 696 could pull the plug on the capital's music scene. OK, so that's not the snapiest title ever, but the story behind it really bothers me. Demanding personal details about all musicians makes me very uncomfortable (most contracts treat bands as single objects, and if you want to get hold of a musician, mobile's about the only contact detail that's going to be useful to you, so this goes well beyond the basic Data Protection principle of collecting and holding the minimum relevant information needed) but asking venue owners and promoters for the ethnic background of the likely audience? I'm sorry. Is there a world in which that isn't discriminatory and racist, not to mention asking the venue owner or promoter to typecast their punters? 

The actual wording on the form is "Who is the target audience' but I imagine they would not take kindly to all the forms from all the venues always reading 'fans of live music', although it would be true ...   (want to bet that would constitute not offering 'full co-operation' and come back around to bite venues in the ass?)

If it bothers you, and you're a UK citizen, there's an online petition but I suspect letters sent to your local Police, MP, London Assembly members, and to the Met commissioner will have more chance of effecting things.  (As always - They Work For You - your one-stop shop for identifying your elected representatives.)

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