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UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!

Ian HP 04 Dec 01 - 05:27 PM
artbrooks 04 Dec 01 - 05:44 PM
Joe Offer 04 Dec 01 - 05:44 PM
Jack the Sailor 04 Dec 01 - 05:53 PM
Jack the Sailor 04 Dec 01 - 06:08 PM
catspaw49 04 Dec 01 - 06:17 PM
Herga Kitty 04 Dec 01 - 06:20 PM
Herga Kitty 04 Dec 01 - 06:35 PM
Jack the Sailor 04 Dec 01 - 06:39 PM
Gareth 04 Dec 01 - 06:47 PM
artbrooks 04 Dec 01 - 06:50 PM
Herga Kitty 04 Dec 01 - 06:55 PM
GUEST,BigDaddy 04 Dec 01 - 06:57 PM
Teresa 04 Dec 01 - 06:59 PM
The Shambles 04 Dec 01 - 07:02 PM
Teresa 04 Dec 01 - 07:07 PM
Gareth 04 Dec 01 - 07:09 PM
The Shambles 04 Dec 01 - 07:11 PM
Herga Kitty 04 Dec 01 - 07:17 PM
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Herga Kitty 04 Dec 01 - 07:40 PM
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The Shambles 05 Dec 01 - 02:28 AM
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mooman 05 Dec 01 - 07:07 AM
Grab 05 Dec 01 - 07:31 AM
GUEST,MC Fat 05 Dec 01 - 08:11 AM
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Micca 05 Dec 01 - 09:05 AM
The Shambles 05 Dec 01 - 09:08 AM
John Routledge 05 Dec 01 - 09:22 AM
A Wandering Minstrel 05 Dec 01 - 09:52 AM
Malcolm Douglas 05 Dec 01 - 10:25 AM
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Willie-O 05 Dec 01 - 10:57 AM
Malcolm Douglas 05 Dec 01 - 12:48 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Dec 01 - 01:01 PM
The Shambles 05 Dec 01 - 01:41 PM
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McGrath of Harlow 05 Dec 01 - 03:31 PM
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running.hare 05 Dec 01 - 05:41 PM
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sian, west wales 06 Dec 01 - 04:39 AM
Firecat 06 Dec 01 - 05:18 AM
The Shambles 06 Dec 01 - 05:20 AM
The Shambles 06 Dec 01 - 09:05 AM
The Shambles 06 Dec 01 - 10:09 AM
A Wandering Minstrel 06 Dec 01 - 10:25 AM
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The Shambles 06 Dec 01 - 02:00 PM
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Rolfyboy6 09 Dec 01 - 10:22 PM
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GUEST,David Heath MP 11 Dec 01 - 05:52 AM
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The Shambles 11 Dec 01 - 12:20 PM
GUEST,Hamish Birchall 11 Dec 01 - 02:14 PM
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Subject: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Ian HP
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 05:27 PM

During a discussion on BBC Radio Bristol about a parliamentary debate yesterday (3 December 2001), British Labour Party Culture Minister Kim Howells said he "couldn't think of anything worse than sitting in a pub listening to three folk singers from Somerset". What a disgusting state of affairs that a Labour Minister - or any - should be so ignorant, dismissive and insulting of his cultural heritage. Could you imagine the reaction if this had been said in Ireland? Spain? etc.. Complaints, please, to House of Commons, London.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: artbrooks
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 05:44 PM

I dunno. Was he speaking of folk musicians in general or musicians from Somerset? Or perhaps he had three specific musicians in mind, in which case I shall reserve judgement until I've heard them myself. Besides, saying that politicians make stupid comments is a lot like saying beer is wet, regardless of party affiliation or side of the pond.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 05:44 PM

Aw, they were probably navel-contemplating singer-songwriters. I can't think of anything worse than THAT, either.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 05:53 PM

How about a man named Kim???

What is the context? Why would a labour minister care? Are the folksingers in Somerset in some sort of a special union or guild? Is there anything especially bad about folk singers from Somerset? I can't imagine why anyone in Ireland or Spain would care what he said about three hypothetical singers from Somerset. It all seems very surreal to me.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 06:08 PM

I'm from Somerset and my Mom don't understand me
I'm from Somerset and Kim Howells just can't stand me
I sing on a stage with two other mates.
I voted Labour those dirty ingrates
Even though We sing like we have the whooping cough
If you don't like our singing you can bloody well feck off!
But keep those government grants a coming our wayyyyyyyyyy.

(Sorry I misread. I see now that he is Minister of Culture. I guess Somerset folk singers are culture of some kind.)

On a serious note, a Minister of Culture shouldn't really be making value judgements on such things. It probably indicated a lack of taste or tact or judgement on his part. Maybe all three. As a Canadian living in the USA who actually did not hear the remark I think I'll confinr my complaints on the matter to this forum. Good Luck Ian!


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: catspaw49
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 06:17 PM

I seem to recall another man named Kim who wielded a lot of power......Cambridge man. He was listened to by people all over the world. Maybe this Kim is worth keeping an eye on too......

Spaw


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 06:20 PM

I've already posted on this to Shambles' PEL thread, and umf. The context is actually that the Minister concerned was announcing that the British Government are planning to change the law to make it easier for pubs etc to get public entertainment licences, which will make life easier for live musicians generally including folkies.

The full exchange in the House of Commons was as follows:-

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmhansrd.htm

Music (Licensed Premises)

<<11. Mr. Kelvin Hopkins (Luton, North): When she will introduce legislation to abolish the restrictions on the numbers of musicians permitted to play together in licensed premises. [16995]>>

<<The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Dr. Kim Howells): We intend to present a Bill to reform and modernise the alcohol and public entertainment licensing laws as soon as parliamentary time permits. However, there is no current restriction on the number of musicians who may play together in licensed premises if the licensee has first obtained an appropriate public entertainment licence. I am aware that obtaining such licences can be a prohibitively expensive business in some local authority areas, because of the attitude of those authorities.>> <<Mr. Hopkins: Many thousands of part-time and professional musicians who wish to play and entertain in pubs and restaurants, and millions who wish to listen to them, find that that is not possible because of the current restriction--the two-in-a-bar rule. Is it not nonsensical that a quiet jazz piano trio or a string quartet may not play in such premises, while a loud karaoke machine or discotheque may operate in them? >>

<Dr. Howells: I entirely agree. We want to make licensing a much simpler, less bureaucratic and cheaper process, so that there is no deterrent to seeking the appropriate licences. It is obvious that the legislation badly needs to be updated: it dates back to the mid-1960s, when I suppose an acoustic-guitar folk trio made a good deal less noise than one person with a loud amplifier. >>

<<Mr. Crispin Blunt (Reigate): If the legislation needs updating so badly, and given that legislation modernising licensing laws was promised to the electorate in the Labour party manifesto, why did that proposed legislation not appear in the Queen's Speech? >>

<<Dr. Howells: Because this Government were elected to improve public services. Those were the Government's priorities, as we made very clear, and they are the priorities that we have stuck to in our legislative programme. We hope very much that there will be space for a Bill allowing us to make these reforms, and that it will be announced in the next Queen's Speech. >>

<<Mr. Tony Banks (West Ham): Are we not living in a much nicer world when we can listen to music rather than having to face the music, as we have to here from time to time? >>

<<Will my hon. Friend look again at the restrictions on buskers on the underground and at British Rail stations? They add to the enjoyment and gaiety of life, but so often they are moved on. Can we not view the situation in a proper way, so that the buskers can earn their living and we can all enjoy their performances? >>

<<Dr. Howells: I do not believe that that would be part of a reform of licensing Bill, but it is an interesting thought. Some extremely dreary public places are enlivened by the activities of buskers. >>

<<Mr. David Heath (Somerton and Frome): Is it not ridiculous that, in the unlikely event of Michael Jackson and Madonna teaming up to do a gig down the local pub, they could so, yet three people singing Somerset folk songs would not be able to do so? Does the Minister not recognise that live music in pubs and inns has the potential to make a major contribution to tourism in rural areas, which we have already said we want to promote? >>

<<Dr. Howells: We are straying into very dangerous territory. For a simple urban boy such as me, the idea of listening to three Somerset folk singers sounds like hell. Having said that, the hon. Gentleman is right: music does enliven many pubs and restaurants. It should thrive. Silly rules are preventing it from doing so. >>


Kitty, Mudcat reads angle brackets as HTML commands, and you have to use special ampersand codes to display them properly. Best not to use them at all unless you're doing HTML.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 06:35 PM

Gosh Joe, that was quick - you corrected it before I sent the correction 3 minutes later. I only put the angle brackets in because you'd put line breaks in song lyrics I posted before!

Ian HP - the House of Commons exchange makes you wonder how Kim Howells feels about Lowdens in the Midlands .....


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 06:39 PM

Thanks Kitty.

Madonna and Michael Jackson performing together in a pub would be Hell for me.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Gareth
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 06:47 PM

I can assure you that having heard Kim Howells give an odd rendering at Labour Party Social Functions at conferences, he is not anti folk. - If it had been, say "The Blackleg Miner", "Cosher Bailey", or say that Valleys favourite "Hymns and Arias" then he would have had no complaints.

Don't forget it was Terry Pratchett who coined the phrase "West Country and Western".

Read Kittys full text B4 u complain.

Gareth.

"I'll sing you the tale of the Collier and the Candle,
Of a long bitter fight that darkned the Land"


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: artbrooks
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 06:50 PM

OK, I apologize to this specific set of politicians, in this particular context.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 06:55 PM

Thanks Gareth

I really think it would be counter-productive to organise angry protests against a throwaway remark in the Commons if the DCMS are actually planning to do what folkies have been asking them to do for the last several years.....

Sorry about duplication of messages but that's because the posts are getting stuck in the ether and the only way out without losing your text is to send it again.... (or is it???)

Kitty


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: GUEST,BigDaddy
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 06:57 PM

I came across a quote the other day to the effect that the reason so many politicians are assassinated is that nothing else seems to faze them...


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Teresa
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 06:59 PM

Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We sing the "Red Flag" once a year.
--From a parody by Leon Rosselson

Don't have access to the lyrics and credits at the moment. ...
Teresa


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 07:02 PM

More details of the problem Urgent help UK folkies etc.

Given the problems presented for our session in the past year, I feel that the remarks, light-hearted I accept, are very ill advised for the Culture Minister to make.

Essential freedoms being curtailed by local authorities are not matters for Ministers to joke about. If Mr Howells does not understand this yet, he certainly needs to be reminded of this until his department actually provide a firm date for reform or issue firm instructions to local authorities as to how they deal with sessions and folk clubs, until the law can be changed.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Teresa
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 07:07 PM

Oops, forgot the HTML code there. Getting rusty, I guess

Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We sing the red flag once a year.
From a parody by Leon Rosselson
Don't have access to lyrics or credits at the moment. ...

Teresa


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Gareth
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 07:09 PM

Teresa - I know it off by heart, but some thing ain't posted.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 07:11 PM

UK folkies etc.

I think it is wrong to think that the government are introducing the licensing reform for the interests of folkies. It is up to us to ensure that the reforms do address these problems. They still seem to think it is a joke.

These remarks give us a perfect opportunity to bring attention to these problems. The more complaints that are made by outraged folkies, the better.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 07:17 PM

Shambles

It doesn't work like that. Central Government can circulate guidance and make recommendations to local authorities on how they exercise their statutory functions, but local authorities can stick two fingers up if they want to, unless Central Government has a stranglehold on funding. I know because I work for the DTLR.

It was quite encouraging to read David Heath's remarks on the contribution live music in pubs can make to tourism, because the DTLR is about to launch a consultation on revised criteria for directing traffic to tourist destinations (with white and brown signs). If you want any more info on this let me know.

I


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 07:26 PM

If you wish to express a view directly to the DCMS, you could email Licensing Minister Dr Kim Howells: Kim.Howells@culture.gsi.gov.uk


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 07:40 PM

Shambles - Yes, but if you really want to keep up the pressure you need to enlist the continuing support of sympathetic MPs


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 08:25 PM

That was a sound-bite sort of remark - holding out bait in the hope it'll get picked up in the press. The thing that Kim Howells would probably most dearly love is to have a loud explosion of indignation from folkies, because that could make a better story. Cartoons. Have I got New for You. Private Eye. Attention!!

So I don't think there's any actual danger of annoying the man by kicking up a fuss.

Stories in the paper about this kind of thing probably help us, by drawing attention to the existence of folk music in pubs. But you can be certain that any stories mentioning it are going to poke fun. Not that that matters much.

I was pleased that in that parliamentary exchange there was at least a nod in the direction of recognising that music doesn't just happen in pubs. The bizarre thing is while the proposed legislation, when they get round to it, should go some way towards reducing the restrictions that discourage music in pubs, it seems pretty clear that there are no plans to liberalise the far stricter restrictions on music, including even a single person singing, in other places - such as coffee bars.

And that is clearly a breach of Human Rights, if we aren't allowed to sing when we choose.

Perhaps the letters to Kim Howells should point out that it isn't just three Somerset singers who would be barred from singing by the current laws, but a single Welsh politician, if he were to wish to sing in the House of Commons tea room.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Coyote Breath
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 10:32 PM

Wow, guys. Here in Jolly Old Missouri it is strictly up to the club(or bar or grill or coffeehouse or whatever) owner whether there is live music in the establishment. The owners (or managers) also decide on what kind of music but it is a pretty relaxed business. If you have a business license (and probably even if you don't) you can present almost any entertainment you wish.

How is it in other areas? Australia? Canada? Japan? Germany? Other states in the US?

Business licenses are not expensive here, either.

CB


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: paddymac
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 12:08 AM

I know it's a big "if", but if the excerpt of the the debate presented above is accurate, it seems that the Minister's words have been taken out of context. Sounds as if he was merely trying to make a joke.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 12:27 AM

Er---to a Scot-Nat, "British Labour Party Minister of Culture" reads like an oxymoron-----[ :-), kind of!]


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 02:28 AM

For jolly good reason too. (The following is from the other thread).

Given all the problems presented to sessions and gigs by law and council authorities in England, The following is incredibly the way things are in Scotland....

(source: Donald McLeod, Licensing Solicitor, Aberdeen council):
The Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976 is mainly concerned with selling of liquor. If you've got a liquor licence you DON'T need a separate public entertainment licence for live music, unless the music is going to go on after drinking-up time. Renewing a Liquor Licence for a pub is only about £80 once every three years. Police, fire, building control, and environmental health departments are consulted on renewal.

In Aberdeen alone there are about 300 public houses, hotels and restaurants. A band could walk into any of these premises and play without any problem. The number of musicians is not an issue. The licensee does not have to do anything - he is not committing any offence, nor does he have to pay anything to the local authority.

Venues like nightclubs or theatres these are more closely regulated, usually requiring a Civic Public Entertainment Licence (Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982) which imposes additional public safety conditions.

The above was obtained by Hamish' Birchall, whose comments follow......

So here we have neighbouring EC jurisdictions one of which effectively limits musicians' employment to 5% of 111,000 potential venues, while in the other there is no such restriction. The difference could not be more stark. Note also the complete lack of any financial penalty for the provision of live music in these premises in Scotland.

I am quite sure that this extraordinary difference has legal implications. Scotland's live music laws are rational, and the country is actively implementing Article 27.1 of the Universal Declaration; but the equivalent law and enforcement in England/Wales is irrational (prevents live music where there are no noise or safety concerns), and actively opposes Article 27. The difference dates from about 1982 (there was a radical overhaul in Scottish licensing in 1976, but the full effects did not come into force until '82).

Let us not do what UK folkies seem to to best, argue amongst ourselves about the finest details. let us all just keep up the pressure.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 04:06 AM

You have to remember that Kim Howells is from South Wales. Where (to quote Flanders and Swann) they sing "much too loud, much too often and flat".
RtS (Disclaimer: this does not apply to any Welsh Mudcatters, any of the many friends I made living in Cardiff in the '60s or any members of Plaid Cymru with arsonical leanings)


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: mooman
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 07:07 AM

I agree with The Shambles that the pressure needs to be kept up but find the Hansard transcription encouraging despite Kim Howell's lame joke!

He will most certainly qualify as a true "grockle" as of now!

mooman


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Grab
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 07:31 AM

Shambles and IanHP, he's expressing his personal opinion, which he's entitled to do. He's also saying explicitly that although it's his personal opinion, he realises that the subject is important, and he will support those hypothetical 3 Somerset folk singers regardless of whether he enjoys their music.

So let's go for a more fundamental truth. Rather than "politicians always saying stupid things", let's remember that the press will _always_ misquote them, or quote them out of context, if there's a story that can be made out of that misquoting. Think Al Gore and the Internet. Or think Cardinal Richelieu - "Give me six lines written by an honest man, and I will find something in them to hang him."

Untwist knickers, remove from high horse, etc...

Graham.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: GUEST,MC Fat
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 08:11 AM

We've got it all wrong by describing the music we know and love as traditional (or otherwise)British 'Folk Music'. To get anywhere in todays management speak world we need re-brand as 'Ethnic English Music' , 'Ethnic Scottish Music' etc. Believe me it's worked for someone I know who's is getting paid to teach Ethnic Irish Music to a community group in Sheffield. Otherwise the 'system' just thinks we're white middle class wankies.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: GUEST,Illuminata
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 08:40 AM

You know, remarks which refer to music in pubs as an "essential freedom" and limits placed upon it as a "breach of human rights" is pretty off-putting and disingenuous.

Some of you Brit folk truly are an arrogant lot.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 09:03 AM

I'd place the right to sing and make music slightly behind the right to breathe, and on the same level as the right to free speech, of which it is an example.

If someone running a cafe or a bar wants to say they don't want music or singing, more fool them, but they are within their rights. When a law says you have to have a licence to chat away to your friends in song or music, that is a law too far.

Who are you calling a Brit?


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Micca
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 09:05 AM

This story was featured in the main BBC nws at 1 oclock today, complete with a spokesperson from EFDSS I only Just caught part of it and hope it will still make the 2 pm news when i can get a better idea of how they are treating it!!


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 09:08 AM

The Times 05 December 200.
By Dalya Alberge. Arts Correspondent.


A disparaging remark by a Government culture minister about folk music has provoked an angry response from musicians.
Kim Howells, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, angered English folk music lovers by saying during a House of Commons debate on live music legislation that "the idea of listening to three Somerset folk singers sounds like hell".

Ian Smith, organiser of the Musician's Union's folk section, said "It shows how crassly ignorant someone of that level is. It's an insult. The folk and acoustic world has never been bigger".

Daily Express 05 December 2001
A lack of appreciation for the rural arts means Culture Minister Dr Kim Howells must spend the day in the pooch house. The Pontypridd MP caused outrage during a Commons debate when he announced: "for a simple urban boy like me the idea of listening to three Somerset folk singers sounds like hell".

Now, accordionist of the Wurzels Tommy Banner, famed for the seventies hit Combine harvester, has hit back. "we play all over the place", he rages. "our music is for people fed up with listening to people like Kim Howells talking a lot of dung in the Commons." Perhaps a tape of Combine harvester would help Dr Howells pass the time in the kennel?


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: John Routledge
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 09:22 AM

I found the Hansard transcript very encouraging although I accept the danger of accepting totally what is said by politicians.

In it's context I see no problem with Howell's albeit not very funny joke.

Keep making representations - and music. Cheers Geordie


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: A Wandering Minstrel
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 09:52 AM

The Daily Express eh? that explains a lot. For the uninformed thats a paper mainly read by right-wing landowning people who probably think that folksingers should be regularly horse-whipped!

Looks to me like Doc Howells was actually having a good try at getting round to attacking the Two-in-a-bar rule in which case more power to his elbow.

Not being from Somerset I am otherwise entirely unmoved :)


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 10:25 AM

I caught the whole of the BBC's short follow-up feature to Kim Howells' unfortunate (though, I am sure, innocently and humorously intended) remarks.  The upside of it was a brief visit to the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library at Cecil Sharp House, with some sensible comments from Tim Walker, Chief Officer of EFDSS; the downside was an embarrassing clip from an elderly Top of the Pops programme featuring the Wurzels singing Combine Harvester, which is exactly what is needed to reinforce popular prejudices based on ignorance.  If in doubt, it seems, show a parody of folksinging rather than the real thing; an easy cop-out which will simply encourage the snide and facile comments of those who, seeking an easy target, set up a man of straw in order to knock it down.  The real article is made of stronger stuff, which is presumably why the carpers choose to mock a target which is largely of their own invention.

Presumably the BBC believed that it was presenting a balanced report.  Roger's post, which appeared while I was typing this, suggests that the Wurzels' appearance was a result of their earlier, self-publicising intervention, and not the fault of a misguided BBC researcher; the effect, however, is the same, and does traditional music in England no favours.  The Wurzels are representative of folk music in much the same way as Bob Monkhouse represents comedy.

Of course, if Mr Howells had the Wurzels in mind when making his comment, I can't say I blame him; though it's a pity he called them folksingers.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: mooman
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 10:31 AM

Minstrel! Are you seriously suggesting that we should not be horse-whipped? I for one would be most disappointed....

mooman


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Willie-O
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 10:57 AM

If you want to get horsewhipped and a damn good shellacking, just try singing an anti-war song to the wrong crowd right about now...

Willie-O
Laying low.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 12:48 PM

At the BBC website:  Folk fans furious at minister


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 01:01 PM

"try singing an anti-war song to the wrong crowd right about now... " - I take it that means in the USA. We don't seem to have those kind of crowds in folk clibsd in England so far as I'm aware.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 01:41 PM

The following is Hamish Birchall's view of the latest deveolpments.

Dr Howell's did also say that the rules regulating live music in pubs and restaurants were 'silly'. But he only made a vague commitment to the possibility of a new licensing Bill in next year's Queen's Speech. Even if that happened it could be a further two years before legislation finally makes it onto the statute books (i.e. 2004).

The law is silly, but local authorities in many areas are sillier. Work opportunities for musicians, and public access to local music-making, could be transformed if local authorities abolished public entertainment licensing fees and radically changed their enforcement policies. This doesn't require new primary legislation. The Department for Culture is now responsible for public entertainment licensing policy - and they could bring this change about by issuing strong new guidelines to local authorities.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 02:00 PM

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport dismissed Mr Howells's comments as "throwaway remarks", but did not say whether a formal apology would be made.

"Mr Howells is a music fan and he did not mean to cause any offence," a spokeswoman said.

The point was the question he was replying to was a good one and at the heart of the whole issue. I don't really want him to apoligise but he should answer and fully address the question.

Two 'mega stars' in a pub do not need a licence, but 3 Somerset folk singers are prevented from singing without one. Fearing that we may be "straying into very dangerous territory" is not answer enough.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 03:31 PM

Or one singer in any public place other than a pub.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: lady penelope
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 04:30 PM

" The people's flag is brightest pink
It's not as red as people think! "

TTFN M'Lady P.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: lady penelope
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 04:31 PM

" The people's flag is brightest pink
It's not as red as people think! "

" The people's flag is darkest grey
It's getting darker every day! "

TTFN M'Lady P.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: GUEST,Peter jackson
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 04:32 PM

Maybe the guy loves folk music and just doesn't like people from Somerset. You know the famous line, "No, He's not predjudice, he just doesn't like assholes....


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 04:50 PM

As a matter of interest (after the previous link to the BBC website etc) - I was late home from work today so I missed Mike Harding (as well as the BBC 2 programme "Go Home on Time). Did this get a mention at all on our weekly BBC folk music programme? If not, is there any chance it might get mentioned on Andy Kershaw's programme on Friday???


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Gareth
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 05:02 PM

BTW Little known fact.

Historically there is a strong link between Sommerset and South Wales. Firstly many Sommerset Folk came into the Coalfield at the end of the 19th centuary to find work, be it in the coal or the railways.

Secondly, during the various army occupations of the Rhondda, in 1911, and again in 26 the Sommerset Regiment was used as the "garrison troops".

Folk memories, and documentation, suggest that in 1926 the Sommerset Regiment had, from the comanding officer downwards, a feeling and sympathy for the population.

There were complaints from the Coal Owners Association, and the then Chief Constable of Glamorgan - one Captain Lindsay - That the Sommersets were neglecting their duties and fraternising with the locals. In fact refusing to act as the armed wing of the Coal Owners, turning a blind eye to the scavenging of small coals from the tips etc., and in the words of one South Wales Miners Federation Official "Protecting the Population from the Police".

The commanding officer refused to allow his officers to dine, or be entertained, by the Cheif Constable, or the Colliery Owners.

Needless to say when the Sommersets left it was with, not a few, local recruits, and brides - And a lot of good will.

Inrerestingly whilst that regiment was stationed in Ireland in 1918 onwards, similar complaints were also made. The comanding officer was the same when the regiment was engaged in Ireland, and the Rhondda. I wish I could remember his name. Can any Catter recall him, it was the same man who told his officers and men to apply for, (and they got) "safe Conduct" passes from the IRA to engage in Sporting or Social activities.

All of which is massive thread drift, but may put the remarks of Dr Howells in context.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Gareth
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 05:03 PM

BTW Little known fact.

Historically there is a strong link between Sommerset and South Wales. Firstly many Sommerset Folk came into the Coalfield at the end of the 19th centuary to find work, be it in the coal or the railways.

Secondly, during the various army occupations of the Rhondda, in 1911, and again in 26 the Sommerset Regiment was used as the "garrison troops".

Folk memories, and documentation, suggest that in 1926 the Sommerset Regiment had, from the comanding officer downwards, a feeling and sympathy for the population.

There were complaints from the Coal Owners Association, and the then Chief Constable of Glamorgan - one Captain Lindsay - That the Sommersets were neglecting their duties and fraternising with the locals. In fact refusing to act as the armed wing of the Coal Owners, turning a blind eye to the scavenging of small coals from the tips etc., and in the words of one South Wales Miners Federation Official "Protecting the Population from the Police".

The commanding officer refused to allow his officers to dine, or be entertained, by the Cheif Constable, or the Colliery Owners.

Needless to say when the Sommersets left it was with, not a few, local recruits, and brides - And a lot of good will.

Inrerestingly whilst that regiment was stationed in Ireland in 1918 onwards, similar complaints were also made. The comanding officer was the same when the regiment was engaged in Ireland, and the Rhondda. I wish I could remember his name. Can any Catter recall him, it was the same man who told his officers and men to apply for, (and they got) "safe Conduct" passes from the IRA to engage in Sporting or Social activities.

All of which is massive thread drift, but may put the remarks of Dr Howells in context.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 05:03 PM

Oh blimey - after all that I've just seen the post to umf saying Mike Harding talked about it on the Jimmy Young show today!

"Did anyone hear MH talking to Jeremy Vine on the JY show today? During a discussion about Kim Howells' remarks, Mike played JV a couple of examples of current folk music. He enjoyed a brief burst from Nancy Kerr and James Fagan, but after hearing Cara Dillon remarked '..but that's not Folk'".


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: running.hare
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 05:41 PM

"Did anyone hear MH talking to Jeremy Vine on the JY show today? During a discussion about Kim Howells' remarks, Mike played JV a couple of examples of current folk music. He enjoyed a brief burst from Nancy Kerr and James Fagan, but after hearing Cara Dillon remarked '..but that's not Folk'".

I caught the said interveiw 1/2 way through. JV continued his 'thats not folk' coment with "the's not been a single hey nonny non in it"!!! ohh talk about enlightened DJs!!! MH was comenting about how no folk is played in all the varied mix of other music on 'mainstream' raidio 2 (as apposed to just 1 or 2 hrs a week) JV's final coment was "I don't see how we could play any folk music with out getting a folk band in to the studio" So if any 1 want's to volenteer to play live on Radio 2 Get emailing!!! alturnitivly send them an CD or 2 that they can play on air ;)

~lizabee


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Gareth
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 06:53 PM

I heard it, I was not well pleased - unfortunately this is what we have to overcome.

Gareth

I have sung the folk tradition, with one finger in my ear,
For half the C**p I'm singing, .........


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 06:58 PM

I note Gareth spells it Sommerset throughout - is that a accepted variant, or a personal idiosyncrasy? I hope the former - it looks better, to my mind.

Ain't it marvellous though - for years people bang their heads against the wall and get nowhere trying to get some attention paid to it, and then a politician makes a joke that could be taken as insulting somebody, and suddenly the focus is on it for a day or so.

Except of course they completely miss the point, which is that the sort of music being played makes no difference. However Kim Howell's crack did get through the wall of indifference, and we should be thankful to him for it. (And after all people say much worse things about the Welsh all the time and get away with it.)


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: GUEST,MC Fat
Date: 06 Dec 01 - 04:22 AM

At least this has stimulated debate even if some of the comments have been stereotypes or even way off target (i.e. The Wurzells I mean they were crap years ago !!). However as I think I mentioned in a previous thread the problem is really in enforcement and the fact that enforcement is handled by Environmental Health chappies who as most folks in the UK know are slightly to the right of Attilla the Hun. Local Authorities and their henchmen of the Waffen SS (aka Environmental Health) should have written guidance ( a Statutory Instrument ?) to desist from enforcement pending new legislation.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: sian, west wales
Date: 06 Dec 01 - 04:39 AM

Well, it's front page of Wales' Western Mail today, plus another article on page 3, and a bit of comment in the Editorial. So ...

sian


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Firecat
Date: 06 Dec 01 - 05:18 AM

Just goes to show, politicians have no taste in music!

Firecat, who is involved in student politics as Schools Liaison Officer for the Selby College Student Union! Oops!


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Dec 01 - 05:20 AM

See here UK folkies etc, for a small victory for commonsense over the "Environmental Health chappies".


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Dec 01 - 09:05 AM

Kim.Howells@culture.gsi.gov.uk.

It would seem from earlier attempts that comments from non-UK residents, expressing their appreciation of our traditional activities, are very effective in informing and influencing those in power, who do not appreciate them.

Is Dr Howells going to be asked to present the BBC folk awards, wonder?

Martin Carthy, is quoted in The Times as referring to the Minister as a 'prat'.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Dec 01 - 10:09 AM

The following must have been in a later edition of The Times.

The Times 05 December 200.
By Dalya Alberge. Arts Correspondent and Helen Studd.

A minister whose job is to promote culture and the arts is facing the music today after insulting the county most associated with England's centuries old folk tradition..

Kim Howells, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said the idea of listening to Somerset folk singers was his idea of hell. His remark followed a question about restrictions on the number of musicians permitted to play together on licensed premises.

Somerset played a leading part in English folk music throughout the last century, beginning with the work of Cecil Sharp, founder of the English Folk Dance and Song Society. Later the tradition continued with bands such as the Wurzels, the Western Country Dance Band and the Yetties.

Sharp spent most of his career in Somerset researching the origins of its folk music. he rediscovered much of the area's traditional music that was played in the 17th and 18th centuries, which was already on the verge of being lost and forgotten in the early 1900s.

He first watched Morris men perform in the county in 1895 and shortly afterwards began his life's work, collecting and documenting the dances. Bands such as Roots Quartet continue to play Sharp's songs to audiences across the county and have recently produced a CD of the music collected.

Wally Dent agent for the Wurzels said: "It's disgusting that someone in such a role as Dr Howells should make such inappropriate and ill-informed remarks. I suggest he spends a little more time around the area and learns about its musical traditions"

.

Martin Carthy, the guitarist and singer regarded as one of the most influential figures in English folk music, whose admirers are said to include bob Dylan said. "Musicians have a tough enough time without a prat like that". Hamish Birchall, a folk drummer said. "If that's a joke, it's a very bad joke, particularly coming from a culture minister".

Somerset is also the home of music festivals such as Glastonbury, while PJ Harvey, who was last week Voted the greatest female rock and pop artist all time, is the daughter of a Dorset farmer.

Ian Smith, organiser of the Musician's Union's folk section, said "It shows how crassly ignorant someone of that level is. It's an insult. The folk and acoustic world has never been bigger".

In the commons exchange David Heath, Liberal Democrat MP for Somerton and Frome said. "Is it not ridiculous that, in the unlikely event of Michael Jackson and Maddona teaming up to do a gig down the local pub, they could do so, yet three people singing Somerset folk songs would not be able to do so?"

It is a criminal offence for more than two to play together in pubs and restaurants, which means that a quiet jazz piano trio or a string quartet are barred while karaoke or discos are permitted.

Dr Howells was quick to respond to Mr Heath. "For a simple urban boy such as me, the idea of listening to three Somerset folk singers sounds like hell" he said.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: A Wandering Minstrel
Date: 06 Dec 01 - 10:25 AM

Mooman,

what you do in the privacy of your own home is your concern :D

I'm still trying to come to terms with the idea that the Wurzels are the defining voice of English folk!

One way round the little corporals is to sing in the pub anyway and just not tell them.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 06 Dec 01 - 10:32 AM

The Times itself displays a degree of ignorance on the subject.  Sharp first encountered Morris dancers at Christmas 1899 (not 1895) at Headington in Oxfordshire (not Somerset).  Meanwhile, the Wurzels continue their campaign of self-publicity on the coat-tails of Howells' stupid remark.  The worst possible outcome of the affair would be for people to believe that this undistinguished "mummerset" comedy band were in any way representative of folk music!


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Dec 01 - 02:00 PM

I think it may also come as some surprise to Hamish, that according to The Times he is a "folk drummer".

Some say there is no such thing as bad publicity. Not so sure that I agree 100% with that but it is not anything new in the UK for our music, just comfirming the stereotypical view that the Minister expressed.

I really think that we have to stand up now, get together and stop confirming the view that folkies can be safely ignored until needed for a safe ministerial joke or a 'silly season' press headline.

It is quite staggering when you take a good look at the damage this legislation has done and continues to do to folk clubs, sessions and traditional activities here. The battle is not won, it is only just starting.

The answer is not for clubs and sessions to continue to skulk and hide away, but to demand the essential freedom of individuals to be able to proudly take part in the musical activities of their choice.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Hawker
Date: 06 Dec 01 - 08:30 PM

I would like to know if he is anti JUST Somerset Folk singers or all!!!!
No, really, this sort of thing is very wrong, The UK government is always banging on about our multicultural society. This form of music is a part of our heritage, which cannot be said for some forms of music today!!! Mr Howells should crawl back under his stone after he has publically apologised and got on with the debate in an unbiased manner - Politicians - I'd rather listen to 3 Somerset Folk singers than them rabbitting on what a load of old **!!£$**¬!
Lucy


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Paddy Plastique
Date: 07 Dec 01 - 12:30 PM

Anyone know if there's any out of work Somerset singers out there anywhere ?? Well, my fiendish plan would be to have 3 of them parachuted into Whitehall (or wherever Mr. Howells' Ministry of Karaoke is based) and then for them to dog the poor New Labour Welsh bugger in his every move for a couple of months.. sort of 'Brasseye' style - or like what the Gardai did to to the General. Of course, the remaining hordes of Somerset singers would also have to work flat out doing fundraisers to pay for the 'special forces' campaign.... any takers ? ... 1st 100 quid to come from the Wurzels, I s'pose ;-)


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 Dec 01 - 01:10 PM

I did hear a rumour today that Dr Howells was on the end of some direct action in the West country today. Does anyone know any details of this?

He may have received a good kicked in the Wurzels?


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 Dec 01 - 01:42 PM

Sorry about the ammount of Wurzels. this from today's Western Daily Press.

We may be the Wurzels but we bain't yokels!

According to the Culture Minister Kim Howells, listening to Somerset folk singers would be his idea of hell.

What I can say is that thousands of people do not share his view. I joined the Wurzels 34 years ago and we are still very popular.

My first reaction was that this guy should get out and about more often. He describes himself as a simple urban boy from Pontypridd – perhaps he should become a more learned rural one.

I believe the Minister is a jazz fan – well, I have been to some jazz performances and have been bored to tears. There is a snob value about a lot of jazz – and people aren't prepared to listen to other types of music.

He wouldn't dare – he'd get strung up

But would he describe Bob Marley – one of the world's greatest folk singers – as boring? I don't think so. Would he say his own countryman Max Boyce was boring? He wouldn't dare say it in the valleys of Wales because he would get strung up.

And if it is because it is coming from Somerset then perhaps we should take him to the Race Relations Board.

It depends what he thinks of as "folk". You could call our music pop folk, or scrumpy and western. There is no need for folk to be boring. There is no such thing as bad music – there is only music played badly.

He could educate himself and listen to the late, great Adge Cutler's lyrics to our songs because they are wonderful.

Clearly a lot of people don't share the Minister's views. This year we were very busy, performing up to 18 gigs a month during the summer and we are very popular with students.

We are in Stafford this weekend and at The Works, for 18 to 24-year-olds, in Bristol on Monday. We do tour around the country but try to keep south of Birmingham. We haven't a fan club but do have a website. All the gigs are sell-outs.

I'm the only Scottish Wurzel. I'm from Edinburgh and had never heard of the Wurzels because I had been out of the country. A friend who played base for Acker Bilk said a friend of his was looking for an accordion player – so I joined in 1967. It is very similar to Scottish music. I loved it but in the beginning I didn't know what I was singing about because I had never been to the West Country.

Now I'm an honorary North Somerset man – the only Scottish Wurzel in captivity. We've got a preservation order on us.

Quite a few people I have spoken to about the Minister's remarks wonder what he was thinking about. He put his mouth in operation before putting his brain in gear.

But this is a serious matter. Bristol is bidding to become the European Capital of Culture in 2008 and we have been asked to be behind it. We are highly honoured to be asked, and we hope Bristol – with the South-west region behind it – will be successful.

But Mr Howells is part of the Government which will be deciding which city is chosen as the winner, so he should be unbiased. It is very worrying to think that he might be against us from the start and before the bid has even been submitted. Now it is almost a challenge to get Mr Howells to come and see us.

As Culture Minister he shouldn't be saying things like listening to Somerset folk singers sounds like hell. He should be supporting folk as part of the British cultural heritage – that is what we are paying him to do.

We think he was talking a load of dung.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 Dec 01 - 01:50 PM

And from the same edition

Wurzelgate

CULTURE Minister Kim Howells was last night facing a rural backlash after tangling with West music legends the Wurzels.

The minister provoked a furious response when he told MPs that listening to Somerset folk singers "sounds like hell".

Wurzels star Tommy Banner hit back, accusing him of "talking a lot of dung", and the Musicians' Union waded in and told him to apologise.

Outraged readers rang the Western Daily Press to voice their anger.

The row – dubbed "Wurzelgate" at Westminster – began in a Commons debate on tough licensing laws which restrict the number of live musicians who can play in pubs.

Liberal Democrat Somerton and Frome MP David Heath said: "Is it not ridiculous that in the unlikely event of Michael Jackson and Madonna teaming up to do a gig down the local pub they could do so, yet three people singing Somerset folk songs would not be able to do so?"

Mr Howells responded: "For a simple urban boy such as me, the idea of listening to three Somerset folk singers sounds like hell."

Tommy Banner, from Taun-ton, said: "This guy should get out and about more often. He describes himself as a simple urban boy from Pontypridd – perhaps he should become a more learned rural one."

Ian Smith, organiser of the Musicians' Union's new folk, roots and traditional music section described Mr Howells' remarks as a "bad joke" and called for him to apologise immediately.

"For the minister responsible for culture to make an off the cuff statement like that shows that he does not have the first idea of the wide variety of music we have in the UK," he said.

"This kind of remark makes me very angry and it deserves the kind of reaction it will get."

Mr Smith said Somerset folk music had a long and distinguished history stretching back to the beginning of the last century, and was not just about "men in jumpers in the local pub".

Folk music is one of the fastest growing sectors of the British music industry, with bands such as the Wurzels playing to audiences of tens of thousands at folk festivals across the country.

And Tim Walker, chief executive of the English Folk, Dance and Song Society, said Mr Howells' remarks were "totally outrageous".

"He is talking about the roots of English music. The least we would expect is a formal apology," he said.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport refused to say whether Kim Howells would be apologising, but insisted his comments were "throwaway remarks".


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: wildlone
Date: 07 Dec 01 - 01:56 PM

Somerset is full of culture, thats what they do put into cider to make the bugger ferment.
dave


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: GUEST, A Regular, sans Biscuit
Date: 07 Dec 01 - 01:58 PM

What the Hell have the WURZELS got to do with FOLK MUSIC?

I'm sorry Shambles, but the Wurzels make the SPINNERS look good, & for a long time they were doing Folk Music the greatest disservice by making it appear it was only fit for Sunday Schools & the W.I...

You lot are WORSE, I'm sorry to say...& I'm not sure WHY your gigs should be sell-outs other than the fact that there must be a lot of people out there with money to waste who enjoy something akin to a freak-show. They must be there to laugh at you...take a machine gun next time & do a 'Johnny Rotten' on the audience. It will almost certainly take out some of the Trolls that make such an infantile nuisance of themselves here...


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 07 Dec 01 - 02:04 PM

Funny the mixed reaction this one has got. Personally I find the House of Commons exchange encourging and I feel too much is being made of his unfortunate joke.

Jon


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Gareth
Date: 07 Dec 01 - 05:08 PM

It seems that there are more concerned with criticizing the minister than actually reading what he said.

Yes it is the intention of the Govrnment to reform the Public Entertainment License.

It is now up to us all to make sure that the "jobsworths" do not hijack the legislation.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 Dec 01 - 05:52 PM

I think the fact that Dr Howells thought it safe to make a joke at the expense of one type of the culture he is responsible for, in response to a good question, rather than actually making any serious attempt to do anything about the law he considers as "silly", speaks volumes.

It has been the Government's intention to reform licensing for over a year but they have just sat on it. Knowing that years will pass before the reform can make any difference and knowing the real problems currently created, Dr Howell's Dept have not made any positive steps to instruct the local authorities to use their common sense until the reforms can come into force.

When our Government actually does something to adresses the problem, I will be the very first to sing their praises, until then I will support all attempts to expose the weaknesses in their current position of proudly and smugly doing nothing.

We will have to ensure that the legislation is not hijacked but that can't happen until they actually have some legislation to hijack. Why is reform so slow in comming?


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: GUEST,Paul
Date: 07 Dec 01 - 06:01 PM

Why is reform so slow in coming?

Because few people are very interested, even less care very much.

Sad possibly, but true

Paul


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: The Shambles
Date: 08 Dec 01 - 12:24 PM

The following from 'folk drummer' Hamish Birchall, who is feeling a little 'Wurzeled' at the moment.

I know that many of you have already written to Culture Minister Kim Howells expressing your concerns about public entertainment licensing restrictions on live music, particularly as they apply in on-licensed premises.

But if you haven't yet written, please consider sending an email or letter now.

As recently as 29 November, a senior DCMS civil servant was able to write to me: 'While you and others have tried valiantly to raise the public profile of the issues that concern you, I am afraid that there has been very little public response to the media coverage so far as Departmental correspondence is concerned.'

This was cited by the DCMS as one reason why it need not provide general information about PELs on their website. The other was that such information might 'alarm ordinary and honest people unnecessarily'.

Dr Howells' comment in the House of Commons on 3 December that the idea of listening to Somerset folk singers 'sounds like hell' was most unfortunate. But it got huge media coverage, and many of these reports have also cited the 'two-in-a-bar rule' and the Minister's observation that such rules were 'silly'.

As I have said in recent emails, while new primary legislation is essential in the long run, work opportunities for musicians and public access to live music could be transformed now - if councils abolished PEL fees and heavy-handed enforcement policies.

The DCMS is responsible for PEL policy, and Dr Howells is still the Minister with responsibility for licensing:

Kim.Howells@culture.gsi.gov.uk

Or snail-mail:

Department for Culture, Media and Sport
2-4 Cockspur St
London SW1Y 5DH


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Gareth
Date: 08 Dec 01 - 03:05 PM

Sneaky - but here are the details of the man lifted from his official page on the Welsh Labour Website.

Born: 19th January 1946

Political career
From 1989: MP for Pontypridd (By-Election)
From 1998: Minister for Corporate Affairs at the DTI
1997-1998: Parliamentary Under-Sec in Dept of DfEE responsible for lifelong learning
From 1995: Opposition Spokesman on Trade and Industry
1994-1995: Opposition Spokesman on Home Affairs
1994-1995: Opposition Spokesman on Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
1993-1994: Opposition Spokesperson on Development and Co-operation
1993-1994: Member of the Public Accounts Committee
1992-1993: Member of the Public Accounts Committee
1990-1992: Member of the Environmental Select Committee
1989-1990: Member of the Welsh affairs Select Committee

Non-Political Career
1986-1989: Writer/Presenter, TV and Radio
1982-1989: Research Officer/Journal Editor, NUM South Wales Area
1979-1982: NUM Official Research Officer, Coalfield History project
1975-1979: Lecturer

Education
Warwick University
Cambridge College of Art and Technology
Hornsey College of Art
Mountain Ash Grammar School

Other
Political Interests: Energy, Environmentalism, European Foreign Affairs, Transnational Broadcasting
Non-Political Interests: Art, Films, Jazz, Literature and Mountaineering.
He is a member of Llantwit Fadre Cricket Club, Hopkinstown Cricket Club, Pontypridd Rugby Football Club
He is married (Eirlys) with 3 children

Email: kimhowells@eirlys.fsnet.co.uk

His Constituency Office where he can be contacted without going through masses of civil servants is

Howells Dr Kim (Pontypridd Constituency) Pontypridd Constituency
Office
The Chestnuts,16 Tyfica Rd
Pontypridd
CF37 2DA
FAX (01443) 485628

I respectfully suggest that comments on PEL reform stand a better chance of being seen by the minister if directed there.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 Dec 01 - 04:26 AM

Given the recent common's insult to folk music, the following article shows a fine grasp of the art of prediction. From the Musician's Union journal 'Musician' in September 2001.

Foot in mouth?

Welcome aboard to the new Minister for Broadcasting, Film and tourism, rock climber, jazz lover and sculptor, Kim Howells. However, he seems to have got off to a dodgy start with his remarks on "arty farty" British films, comparing them unfavourably with the American factory produced models.

What, you mean arty farty films as in Bridget Jones Diary, Billy Elliot, A Fish Called Wanda, Four Weddings, or even Kevin and Perry Go Large – all of which were extremely successful at the box office?

But we can forgive such indiscretions when we remember that just over a year ago, when he held a key post at the Dept of Trade and Industry, Dr Howells showed a firm grasp of nitty gritty music issues, when he addressed the AGM of the Music Publishers Association and spoke knowledgeably on the subject of intellectual property and internet piracy.

A bright, energetic fellow obviously – the sooner we get him onside on the Two in bar question (something to do with Tourism surely?) the better.

"I believe that the quality of our arts and cultural industries, our creative talents are central to the task of recreating the sense of community.. I value too the folk group in the local pub in Trimdon Village." Tony Blair, Mansion House speech, 03 February 1997.

It may be better to write to the Ministry as the Minister may change? Not a good idea to disagree with the 'boss'.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: banjomad (inactive)
Date: 09 Dec 01 - 05:20 AM

The Hon Minister is twat, 'nuff said. Dave


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 Dec 01 - 05:48 PM

These are the proposed reforms.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Grab
Date: 09 Dec 01 - 06:33 PM

Please, enough already! He made a joke about something you're interested in. Big f***ing deal! As a jazz fan, I'm not surprised Somerset folk singing sounds like hell to him. I very much doubt anyone here is a great fan of rap either (I'm sure it sounds like hell to you) and nor will Howells be either, probably, but rap, folk, jazz, opera, chamber music and the rest will all coexist under the banner of "music", regardless. And therefore, they will all receive attention from the Arts minister, and if he doesn't like the music personally then he should be professional enough to do the job regardless. As indeed he is doing, if ppl bother to look away from the knee-jerk soundbites spoonfed to them by low-grade papers looking for a story.

He's doing his job, and well. He has nothing to apologise for. And...

You Have Nothing To Complain About.
You Have Nothing To Complain About.
You Have Nothing To Complain About.
(repeat until message gets through...)

Graham.

PS. For myself, I think the Wurzels are an untalented bunch of wankers with the same appeal as a car wreck, ie. ppl look bcos they can't believe it can be that bad.

PPS. He's Welsh. Somerset folk-singing is NOT his cultural heritage, nor is sean nos or African drumming.

PPPS. Sorry, but misreporting and quoting out of context really gets my goat.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 Dec 01 - 07:25 PM

As recently as 29 November, a senior DCMS civil servant was able to write to me: 'While you and others have tried valiantly to raise the public profile of the issues that concern you, I am afraid that there has been very little public response to the media coverage so far as Departmental correspondence is concerned.'

We have quite a lot to complain about x 3. Until we all start to do just that, we well deserve to be the butt of silly jokes.

Martin Carthy "Musicians have a tough enough time without a prat like that".

Graham you are of course welcome to your opinion. I tend to think that you are missing the point. Dr Howells is a professional and will expect to have to deal with the results of his public 'gaffs'. It is nothing personal at all. It is just trying to get the maximum attention to the problem, so that he indeed does do his job.

Which is to get these long needed reforms through and not just to agree the law is "silly" and do nothing. If you think this is him doing his job well, you are again welcome to your opinion, many do not share it.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Tyke
Date: 09 Dec 01 - 07:34 PM

To Culture Minister Kim Howells

Personally I can think of nothing worse than standing in an empty room whilst someone turns the lights on and off every 5 seconds! However Tate Modern seems to think it's worth £25000! I glad that I have been told that it's Art and not just the Gallery calling time!

PS I think you been WURZELED!


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Dec 01 - 08:04 PM

Anything that gets this issue into the media is a good thing, and if writing letters complaining about this helps keep it there, more strength to your writing arm. But genuine indignation seems inappropriate here - unless you think that anyone making equivalent throwaway cracks about Morris Dancers or Bodhran players should be keelhauled. That would thin down the ranks of folkies in England very considerably.

Here's a link to a letter Kim Howells sent a few weeks ago to my local MP in response to a letter he'd had from me via the MP.

While we're complaining, maybe a few complaints might be in order about that weird piece by the "Times Arts Correspondent" posted above by The Shambles. Aside from the errors Malcolm pointed out, they couldn't even get right the central issue here: "It is a criminal offence for more than two to play together in pubs and restaurants".

Which is nonsense. The offence is to allow that to happen if you are in charge of the premises, if you haven't got a PEL. The musicians aren't breaking any law. (And of course if it's a restaurant without a licence, even a single person playing or singing requires a PEL to be in place.)


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 09 Dec 01 - 08:33 PM

We're allowed to insult each other, because we're family; even Morris dancers and bodhran players (!).  We're also allowed to take it badly when an outsider is presumptuous and thinks he can take the piss without having paid his dues first.  As a jazzer, Kim Howells is used to his favoured musical genre being extensively supported by grant aid; the people who make financial decisions in the arts authorities are largely biased toward jazz, and inclined to despise folk music, at least in part because they don't understand it and think it isn't "cool".

The point they often miss is that, without the support of vested interests and public money, their favoured musical form would be in exactly the same position as ours; popular in real life, but marginalised and largely ignored by the broadcast media, and the object of regular parody in the press by ignorant people who imagine that they are in some way clever.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Rolfyboy6
Date: 09 Dec 01 - 10:22 PM

For a western U.S. guy like me this is fascinating reading. Our licensing laws are very different and mostly about generating money for the state alcohol board and about good old local graft.

U.K. folkies/acoustic musicians YOU AREN'T LIKELY TO GET SUCH A JUICY OPPORTUNITY TO GET IN YOUR LICKS AGAIN! Beat Wurzelgate to death! Write letters, phone the newspapers. Even if they get it all wrong show you have public opinion muscle. Help your local pubs. Have fun. Beat on the politicians. Don't wait. Call them 'Dung', what a wonderful quote.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Dec 01 - 02:35 AM

U.K. folkies/acoustic musicians YOU AREN'T LIKELY TO GET SUCH A JUICY OPPORTUNITY TO GET IN YOUR LICKS AGAIN! Beat Wurzelgate to death! Write letters, phone the newspapers. Even if they get it all wrong show you have public opinion muscle. Help your local pubs. Have fun. Beat on the politicians. Don't wait. Call them 'Dung', what a wonderful quote.

The above is indeed a wondeful quote. My thanks to Ian for starting this thread and all who have or are doing something constructive about this issue.

Why is it that non-UK Mudcatters seem to grasp the thing so well but with a few notable exceptions UK folkies will leave it to someone else or even go to the trouble of writing nit-picking posts rather than actually help?

I doubt if there will ever be a better time to push the r eforms and make to a start to raise the profile of our music generally.

Just about every week there is some poor soul trying to run a session or folk club, who contacts me with a sorry tale of CURRENT harassment from our council's officers.

The real effect this current legislation and its enforcement has and is having on UK traditional activities is quite staggering. Nothing is going to change unless those that love the music are prepared to stand up and make their voices heard.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: GUEST,David Heath MP
Date: 11 Dec 01 - 05:52 AM

I hope you don't mind me intruding, but it was my question that started the whole Wurzelgate scandal!

It was meant to be a serious question about a serious problem. I'm sure Kim Howells reply was meant as a throwaway joke, and he didn't expect the result (actually he's a good bloke!), but if it helps to raise the issue in the popular press, then great. And the government did promise to change the law, so it's no great crime to remind them they haven't kept their promise.

As I'm pretty eclectic in my musical tastes, I can cope with "serious" folk music and the Wurzels, so don't be too sniffy about them. The late Adge wrote some great lyrics, and for me he'll always be part of my Somerset heritage. And if they've got a record to sell and can generate the headlines for the rest of us, why not?

Anyway, thanks for the support. I'll keep plugging away on this, and maybe we'll see a change in the law before too long.

David Heath MP for Somerton & Frome (in Somerset, if you hadn't guessed!)


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Dec 01 - 07:05 AM

Thanks, David Heath - but don't let them ignore the fact that the restrictions do not just hit music in pubs. For example, there was a string quarter in a bookshop that got closed down, and any coffee bar that invites or allows people to play music is likely to get itself into trouble.

If something akin to skiffle were to start happening today, it wouldn't get off the ground, with the present restrictions - which won't be affected by a change in licensing arrangements for pubs so far as I can see.

(Have a chat some time with your colleague Bill Rammell (MP for Harlow) about these things.)


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Dec 01 - 12:20 PM

It was meant to be a serious question about a serious problem. I'm sure Kim Howells reply was meant as a throwaway joke, and he didn't expect the result (actually he's a good bloke!), but if it helps to raise the issue in the popular press, then great.

No argument with the last bit but if you have to ask the same (good) question again, it will be interesting to see if the same attempt at a joke will be made if you use a different example. Say three traditional musicians from a culture other than the English folk tradition.

It is strange how the English in particular can find merit in everyone else's culture and tradition but find their own fit only for lame attempts at humour, even culture ministers doing this at a point in time when its whole future is seriously under threat.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: GUEST,Hamish Birchall
Date: 11 Dec 01 - 02:14 PM

Thanks to David Heath for his question in the Commons about two-in-a-bar and for the commitment to 'keep plugging away on this'.

But let's not forget what New Labour proposed in their licensing White Paper. It is not a panacea: the two-in-a-bar rule will be abolished - but that simply means there will be NO exemptions for live music. Even one singer in a bar will first require local authority approval. The White Paper carried a risk assessment that musicians could actually LOSE work as a result (p67).

Licensing lawyers, who already have serious reservations about transfering responsibility for liquor licensing to local authorities, agree that unless local authorities curb their over-zealous enforcement policies the White Paper's proposals could make things worse for live music.

Why can't we have the licensing regime now operating in Scotland? No PEL required there for on-licensed premises putting on bands during permitted hours. No criminal offence, no performer limit, no fee payable to the licensing authority.

The health and safety and noise legislation that regulates Scottish pubs is the same as in England.

Realistically we are not going to see new primary legislation for 3 years. The squeeze on local gigs has been going on for almost 20 years. It is as bad as it has ever been, and it's getting worse. It is totally unacceptable that such a long-running, ludicrous restriction on live music should exist for a minute longer, let alone three more years. Musicians and licensees continue to report two-in-a-bar enforcement problems in Camden, Westminster, Islington, Southwark, Norwich, Ely, Oxford, Bristol, Portland, Sheffield, Waltham Abbey, and Brighton. Only a couple of weeks ago a three-quarter page feature appeared in the Brighton Argus, claiming that the council there was 'squeezing the lifeblood out of the live music scene' with its PEL enforcement policy.

Local authorities could transform the opportunities for local live gigs NOW - if they abolished PEL fees and conditions for small-scale gigs in bars and other on-licensed premises. The grant of a PEL allowing informal jazz and folk sessions could be an almost automatic consequence of having obtained a liquor licence.

PEL fees are entirely at local authorities' discretion, and they have statutory duties under separate legislation to ensure public safety and control noise in this category of premises.

But they will not do this unless they come under strong pressure from the DCMS, the department with responsibility for PEL policy. And the DCMS will never apply that pressure unless it becomes convinced (through representations by performers and their unions) that the problem is severe and widespread - because it would mean confronting the Local Government Association and their publicly declared opposition to low, centrally-set licence fees.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Dec 01 - 06:01 PM

"It is strange how the English in particular can find merit in everyone else's culture and tradition but find their own fit only for lame attempts at humour"

Yeah Shambles - but Kim Howells isn't English is he?

It's a chicken and egg situation - the local authorities won't move until the DCMS moves, and the DCMS won't move unless they get pressure from the local authorities. Assuming that Hamish is right in saying that local authorities do in fact have the power to abolish "PEL fees and conditions for small-scale gigs in bars and other on-licensed premises", I'd have thought that lobbying locally for that to happen is probably more likely to be effective than trying to get central government to get a move on.

Once one local authority does this, it'll be a precedent that can be quoted to get others to follow on.

But in the light of things like Weymouth Council saying they have no authority to be flexible, clearly some legal commentary confirming that they do in fact have the authority to be flexible would help.

Any chance of something of that sort being produced?


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Dec 01 - 06:11 PM

One more point - and it's a separate one which is why I make it in a separate post.

Legislation which allows people to make music on licensed premises, or at least provides a mechanism by which this can be legal, but excludes it on non-licensed premises surely discriminates against people from non alcohol drinking cultures. In particular it discriminates against Muslims.

Can this be legal?

Seriously, I think this is a point that needs to be brought home to the politicians who make a pretence about caring about such things. (Exception for David Heath, who does appear actually to care about them.)


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Dec 01 - 02:24 AM

but Kim Howells isn't English is he?

So an English person expressing a dislike or making fun of Scottish or Welsh culture in the in their own new asemblies (even if they were permitted to do so), would recieve a nice polite understanding chuckle from those gathered?

Don't want to 'labour' this point as it not the main one but as pub entertainment in Scotland does not need a PEL and it is more than possible that Wales could choose to have their own more sensible legislation, it is relevant to the main point.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Dec 01 - 03:41 AM

But in the light of things like Weymouth Council saying they have no authority to be flexible, clearly some legal commentary confirming that they do in fact have the authority to be flexible would help.
Any chance of something of that sort being produced?


Letter from Mr to The Minister via my MP 16 July 2001.
In the absence of any new legislation to deal with this, what measures under current legislation will the Minister now be taking, to ensure that Local Authorities Officers will not view their responsibilities under licensing legislation to be more important than their responsibilities under cultural or other legislation?

All I received was the standard reply.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Dec 01 - 06:03 AM

Hamish suggested - "Local authorities could transform the opportunities for local live gigs NOW - if they abolished PEL fees and conditions for small-scale gigs in bars and other on-licensed premises. The grant of a PEL allowing informal jazz and folk sessions could be an almost automatic consequence of having obtained a liquor licence."NP>

My point is that we need to find something who can talk the legal talk and walk the legal walk and who can write something authoritative to bolster the case that local councils would be legally entitled to do that. P>

There must be someone out there who knows their way round a law book.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Dec 01 - 06:25 AM

Unfortunately that person is employed by my local authority. *smiles*

Point taken. It sounds like a job for 'Bicycle-repairman'.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Dec 01 - 07:56 AM

See also Help change music in my country


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Feb 04 - 12:06 AM

Very well spoken. One should not take seriously any comment made by a politician. To do so would only indicate that his/her opinion had some relevance.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: GUEST,BIG ANDY
Date: 05 Feb 04 - 06:34 PM

should kill ten politicians every morning when eating your toast and drinking tea. Sort the country out in no time


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Bobjack
Date: 06 Feb 04 - 06:55 AM

Post no 100. I thank you! You have made an old Guinea Pig very happy.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: GUEST,The Stage Manager
Date: 06 Feb 04 - 09:27 AM

I think maybe the best way of protesting about this issue is going to play in as many pubs, clubs, shops and cafes etc as possible and actually entertaining people.

Hopefully this will result in getting thrown out a few times, so a few more people might begin to realise how stupid and irrational the legislation has become. Particularly if these performers were to hand out leaflets on the issue as they were led to the door. Be nice if some 'popular names' involved.

I am reminded of a vist to Hamburg, where a quartet of music students were busking in a 'nice' shopping area. The polizi were called to move them on by a shopkeeper. The Polizi were then themselves asked to move on by a group of middle aged hausfrau who were enjoying the music and demanded that the quartet be allowed to continue. The Polizi knew when they were beaten.   

Ministers demonstrating themselves to be ignorant or misinformed pratts is hardly news. Frankly its what we've come to expect of them, particularly when it comes to indegenous, ethnic, "f word" music or indeed most art forms.   

In the old adage if you want to communicate "Show, don't tell"

SM


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Cuilionn
Date: 06 Feb 04 - 10:31 AM

Aye, that! Ye need "sing ins" & "listen ins" tae demonstrate the SATYAGRAHA (sp?) or "soul-force" o music. Stop nit-pickin an stairt pickin yir citterns & banjos & aa that. Gie the silly blighters a splendit shaw o force that sweeps across the land. Enlist the help o disaffectit youth o ilka stripe--they love bein rebels WI a cause. Enlist the help o local elders whae're wantin a bit o meaningful fun. Get 'em tae come in wi the disaffectit youth an demand the music thegither! Get them all tae carry on intae the wee hoors, an after the "focal folk" are dane wi their sets, hae the youth an elders stairt tradin tunes & teachin ilka ither their sangs! Rouse the populace! Ye cuid ca it sumpit like "The Hell of a Guid Time" maevement...

(Tae quote poet Marge Piercy, "...how beautiful is trouble/ actively pursued...")

--Cuilionn, whae regrets bein on the wrang side o the pond whaur she cannae instigate as muckle as she'd like


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Grab
Date: 06 Feb 04 - 10:35 AM

Can I protest about the issue of cretins reopening three-year-old posts which were of dubious relevance in the first place?

Graham.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 06 Feb 04 - 11:53 AM

Sure! And can I complain about the gratuitous use of an endocrine imbalance as an insult? We don't use "spastic" in that way anymore, quite rightly, and we shouldn't use "cretin" either.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: GUEST,The Stage Manager
Date: 06 Feb 04 - 12:44 PM

Yeah, and I'd like to complain that at the level where it matters, people singing and playing in pubs, we're no further forward in three years.

All we're asking for is the restoration of common sense and the continuation of a 1000 year old tradition. Obviously this is too much of a brainstormer for the bureaucrats.

Maybe if they won't let us sing or play in our local pubs, we should move to the local council offices and sing during council or commitee meetings.   

Personally, I'd love to hear three Somerset folk singers performing in the public gallery of the House of Commons next time Mr Howells gets up to make a speech. I bet it would get on "Yesterday in Parliament" on Radio 4!

SM


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Feb 04 - 12:58 PM

We will not be any further foward as long as incorrect information -such as the following - is being supplied as advice to local councillors by their legal officers.   

Mr Gall may be comforted by the fact that Section 177 of the Licensing Act 2003 will, (providing the requirements contained within sub-sections (1) and (2) of it are met) mean that unamplified live music or facilities to enable persons to take part in it, will not require to be licensed. However, the implementation of this Act has been greatly delayed and it is now expected that the earliest date the new licensing provisions will come into effect will be June 2004 and it may even be as late as September of that year.

Of course s 177 does not of course mean that 'unamplified live music etc' will not rquire it to be licensed.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: The Stage Manager
Date: 07 Feb 04 - 11:10 AM

Oh good grief.

I'm sorry, if things have reached this sort of nit picking lunacy, someone, somewhere, needs a good rogering with the rough end of a pineapple until such a time as they start to see sense, cut through the crap, and begin to rediscover the plot.

No wonder we are no further forward. So the Minister is a self confessed "simple urban boy" for whom "the idea of listening to three Somerset folk singers sounds like hell."

In my book he's obviously not up to the job then, pineapple or no pineapple.

SM


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: GUEST,BIG ANDY
Date: 07 Feb 04 - 12:00 PM

So dose this mean i can still hang ten politicians over breckfast though.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: The Stage Manager
Date: 07 Feb 04 - 02:17 PM

Hi Big Andy, I suggest you stick to effigies. In real life the b***ers are as slippery as eels and twice as slimy.

SM


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: Ernest
Date: 08 Feb 04 - 06:11 AM

After reading all that stuff (much of which I can agree with) I am still wondering if the title of this thread is wisely chosen:

Hands up, all you folk musicians, who never insulted a politician on stage?

Many of the jokes I heard musicians make about politicians are just as stupid.

Yours
Ernest


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: GUEST,ET
Date: 08 Feb 04 - 05:18 PM

The message about unamplified music went out to Libera Lords - or at least they failed to understand that it was no exemption, but they backed off leting the bill in. Now DCMS is launching a formum to see what is happening to live music, the chair being one Fergal Sharkey of the undertones - not a notorious folkie!.

The Act is so simple a peice of de regulation that it has been delayed many times because it is not possible to understand it. Now in force abut Autumn 2005.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: vectis
Date: 08 Feb 04 - 07:20 PM

There have been reports in the press that the new laws will make it impossible for circuses to continue to operate. At this point the polititions started to realise that the act might just be a tad more far-reaching than they had envisiged.


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: GUEST,Andrew
Date: 09 Feb 04 - 08:09 AM

I heard the same reports vectis.

Apparently Circus Performers have a big problem as often they don't know where they will be performing in 5 - 6 weeks therefore can't apply for a licence.

This was big news on the BBC - What a good job that impromptu folk sessions are so meticulously planned that we don't have the same problem. If we did I am sure the BBC would rally to the cause just as they did for a few clowns -

mm clowns - didn't this thread start off talking about Kim Howells ?

Andrew


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Feb 04 - 09:48 AM

Why is it we always complain that politicians don"t say what they think, then when they do we go all argy bargy and cry foul. For God's sake is there nothing more important to write to MPS about ?


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Subject: RE: UK Minister insults folkmusic: complain!
From: DMcG
Date: 09 Feb 04 - 10:02 AM

There are certainly more important things to write to MPs about - but it doesn't follow that we shouldn't have written about this one. (Obviously, given the age of the thread, we need to be thinking in the past tense here.) There was a chance that my local MP could affect the legislation on licencing, but I seriously doubt if there was ever a chance he could influence whether we went to war or not. Again, he can affect laws going through the house but has precious little opportunity to introduce new laws. So there is no very easy link between what is important and what is worth writing to your MP about.


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