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PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas

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Nemesis 17 Dec 02 - 07:32 PM
Liz the Squeak 17 Dec 02 - 07:41 PM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Dec 02 - 07:48 PM
The Shambles 17 Dec 02 - 08:09 PM
The Shambles 17 Dec 02 - 08:19 PM
Liz the Squeak 17 Dec 02 - 08:23 PM
GUEST,Alan Curtis 18 Dec 02 - 05:17 AM
le cheffie 18 Dec 02 - 05:39 AM
The Shambles 18 Dec 02 - 05:43 AM
Dave Bryant 18 Dec 02 - 09:07 AM
DMcG 18 Dec 02 - 09:11 AM
Nigel Parsons 18 Dec 02 - 11:12 AM
IanC 18 Dec 02 - 11:19 AM
The Shambles 18 Dec 02 - 02:50 PM
The Walrus 18 Dec 02 - 03:41 PM
TheBigPinkLad 18 Dec 02 - 04:19 PM
The Shambles 18 Dec 02 - 04:24 PM
Cluin 18 Dec 02 - 04:26 PM
The Shambles 18 Dec 02 - 05:49 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Dec 02 - 07:23 PM
Alice 18 Dec 02 - 07:58 PM
The Shambles 19 Dec 02 - 02:46 AM
Liz the Squeak 19 Dec 02 - 02:51 AM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Dec 02 - 05:30 AM
banjoman 19 Dec 02 - 06:12 AM
Dave Bryant 19 Dec 02 - 06:21 AM
The Shambles 19 Dec 02 - 07:49 AM
The Shambles 19 Dec 02 - 01:31 PM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Dec 02 - 07:09 PM
Nemesis 19 Dec 02 - 07:24 PM
The Shambles 19 Dec 02 - 07:29 PM
Nemesis 19 Dec 02 - 07:34 PM
Rapparee 19 Dec 02 - 07:44 PM
pavane 20 Dec 02 - 02:49 AM
GUEST,Chipinder 20 Dec 02 - 03:57 AM
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Ian 20 Dec 02 - 04:24 AM
The Shambles 20 Dec 02 - 05:19 AM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Dec 02 - 05:23 AM
Skipper Jack 20 Dec 02 - 05:34 AM
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harvey andrews 20 Dec 02 - 06:20 AM
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Subject: PEL: Mummers stopped in Cerne Abbas
From: Nemesis
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 07:32 PM

Does any one know any more about this? I was forwarded an email from the EFDSS forum as follows:

"Last night (Monday 16 December) a licensing officer from West Dorset
Council (tel 01305 252214), prevented a mummers play at two pubs in Cerne Abbas. Claiming these to consist of more than two performers in a public entertainment and illegal without a Public Entetainment Licence.
This performance was advertised in the local paper, the Dorset Evening Echo.

letters@dorsetecho.co.uk
newsdesk@dorsetecho.co.uk"


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 07:41 PM

Any other info? Which team? or even which pub? (there are 3 in Cerne and it's driving me batty thinking it could have been the one I worked in or the one I drank in....)

LTS


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 07:48 PM

Well, you could phone the licencing oficer in the morning and ask him.

I imagine if you'd suggested last week that this might happen the Mummers would have laughed at the notion as paranoid. After all evrybody knows that nothing like this is ever going to happen - until it does.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 08:09 PM

See killed by the PEL system 2

Wessex Morris Men will be returning to Cerne Abbas on Monday to dance and perform their traditional mumming play.
they will dance in the village from about 8pm and perform the play later at the Red Lion and the nearby New Inn.
On boxing day, Wessex Morris Men will be in Cerne Abbas from about noon to perform traditional dances.

From the Dorset Evening Echo Saturday December 14.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 08:19 PM

newsdesk@dorsetecho

letters@dorsetecho.co.uk

www.westdorset-dc.gov.uk


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 08:23 PM

The Royal Oak always was a bit snobbish about people performing there... never liked the bellringers doing handbell carols either!

I suspect most dancers will be safe on Boxing Day... after all, whoever heard of a council worker working over Christmas (I know, don't get out your prams, I can say it, I was a council worker for 12 years in total, 4 of those with the very same Dorset County council)?

Puts the old adage of 'no such thing as bad publicity' out of the window though.... if they hadn't advertised in the local paper, the inspector might not have had the idea of going to look for them. To sting them in one pub is bad enough, but to follow them down the road (and it is, literally, 500 yards down one of only 3 roads in Cerne village) to the other and sting them there too, is sheer, petty minded, beaurocratic vindictiveness.

LTS


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: GUEST,Alan Curtis
Date: 18 Dec 02 - 05:17 AM

The full details are as follows (this is from John Byfleet, a member of Wessex Morris, and is reproduced with his permission):


"We fell foul of the two in a bar rule this Monday [16 December 2002] at Wessex Morris Men's annual performance of the mummers play in the Cerne Abbas pubs. Normally ( for the last twenty years anyway) we go to the Royal Oak & sing & play en masse having performed the play in each of Cerne's three pubs (to a largely disinterested audience). A mumming team comprises around half a dozen and therefore if performed in pubs fall foul of the law as it stands.

"Until recently most of us were totally unaware of the two in a bar rule - it seems to have been honoured in the breach in the thirty odd years I have been participating in pub sessions, mummers etc - so no harm is done, but this year someone notified the Council that there was an intended performance comprising more than two players and presumably complained about same. Council apparatchik turns up at our chosen base pub - the Red Lion - on Monday morning and warns landord that he will be for the high jump if he breaks the law.

"Result = mummers play performed once only out in the square and much reduced session in the Lion - thus are developing folk customs suppressed !"

Privately, John has suggested who might have notified the Council - so perhaps advertising in the local paper did not make any difference?

Alan Curtis
Bagman, Dr Turberville's Morris


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: le cheffie
Date: 18 Dec 02 - 05:39 AM

This does not sound to good for other morris teams who want to carry on our traditions. Are there any usefull loopholes.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Dec 02 - 05:43 AM

Advertising alone DOES NOT, and certainly does not make this activity a public performance. If it did other publicly advertised pub events would also automatically become a public entertainment, just by being advertised. Live TV football matches for example.

It does however mean that officers cannot continue to pretend not to notice it. In that sense it is not a good idea. But what is advertising? Word of mouth is still advertising.

But finding it is only the first step, they then have to decide if it is to be licensable. Unfortunately for activities like these they will so decide and then start counting heads to see if the two in a bar exemption applies.

But for these type of events they do not have to declare it licensable. For if they do not count the unpaid participants as 'performers, it simply would not be a performance of public entertainment.

Mummers are not (generally) paid or booked, they ask if they can use the pub to entertain (themselves mainly). if they decide not in fact to turn up, or not to 'act' if they should turn up, there is no contract or penalty clause.

Are they 'performers'? You could argue that they were, if you were a Council that wished to prevent them, equally you could argue that they were not, if you were a Council that wished to enable them?

There is still no case law that determines what a 'performer' is and the Government spokesman in the Lords has stated in 2000, that this definition is for the individual Licensing Authority i.e. a policy decision for your local Councillors.

I would suggsest that is the loophole, for these events in particular and other participatory musical activities.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 18 Dec 02 - 09:07 AM

It would be quite fun to know if most institutional events events such as "The Lord Mayor's Show" require a PEL and then to try and oppose them at the last minute. Perhaps we'd find out that there's one law for them and another for us humbler mortals.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: DMcG
Date: 18 Dec 02 - 09:11 AM

The Lord Mayor's Show won't if the new law is passed: remember the 'moving vehicle' clause? Of course, should they stop for any reason ...


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 18 Dec 02 - 11:12 AM

LtS: I wouldn't rely on Boxing Day being 'safe'. Council workers may not be working, but the police are. It only takes one 'jobsworth' to inform the police (in advance) that they are aware of an 'illegal' activity which is due to take place.

Nigel


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: IanC
Date: 18 Dec 02 - 11:19 AM

Nigel

The police wouldn't act ... it's not illegal in that sense ... it's a civil matter.

:-)


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Dec 02 - 02:50 PM

Front page (with photo) of the Dorset Evening Echo 18 December 2002.
Morris men's traditional mumming play banned after mystery complaint
By James Tourgout.james.tourgout@dorsetecho.co.uk

Morris dancers have been kicked out of West Dorset pubs because council officers insist a licence is needed for them to perform inside.

The Wessex Morris Men were forced to stage their traditional Christmas mumming play in the street a Cerne Abbas despite having performed inside pubs for the last 18 years.

The drama came after council officers warned that a public entertainment licence was needed for the group to perform indoors at the Red Lion and new Inn pubs. David Pritchard, Wessex Morris Men Squire, said "it was a shame".

"The mumming play was something we do to entertain people at Christmas with no profit involved and as a bit of fun.

"It was disappointing that it should be prevented for some small reason over rules they might have over licensing".

Morris dancers suspect that the licensing warning was sparked by a complaint to West Dorset District Council by someone who spotted the event being advertised.
He added: "we were upset more than annoyed that someone would have been bothered to inform the licensing authority and that they were bothered to come out to the pub."

The dancers were due to visit the New Inn and the Red Lion before having sandwiches and a few drinks as part of their Christmas gathering. They staged the play outside after a council officer warned that a special licence was needed if more than two people were to provide entertainment inside.

A district council spokesman said: "We advised the landlord of the Red Lion pub that a public entertainment licence may be needed if a play involving two or more performers was going to be held in the pub and the public allowed access.

"We also advised them that a street collection licence would be needed if they planned to collect money for charity in the street outside the pub".

Dick Foad, New Inn landlord, said: Scrooge is alive and well in Cerne Abbas.
"It was a letdown as we had people waiting here and they were disappointed.. I have had morris dancers for 15 years. I was a bit taken aback when the licensing authority came about the public entertainment licence".
Mr Foad added that the licensing officer's hands were tied because he was acting on a complaint.

The morris dancers, which are based at Cerne Abbas, said the mumming play went very well outside and that they were well looked after by the Red Lion when they went inside afterwards.

Mr Pritchard added that the traditional village life and music was under threat from new government proposals to introduce entertainment licenses for performances everywhere – including churches.
The morris mumming play dates back to the 19th century and involves drama and dancing.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: The Walrus
Date: 18 Dec 02 - 03:41 PM

I'm tempted to agree with Dave, perhaps someone should lodge a complaint about the State Opening of Parliament, after all, it is mainly a play - complete with a script for Liz (even if she never bothers to learn the words)- and the Palace of Westminster does retail alcohol (Members only - ofcourse), so presumably it has some form if licence (although MPs are a law unto themselves - Literally).
Now, does anyone know of a sympathetic MP?

Walrus


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: TheBigPinkLad
Date: 18 Dec 02 - 04:19 PM

And how, pray, do they intend to deal with this:

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages."

--William Shakespeare, As You Like It


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Dec 02 - 04:24 PM

From jane.blade@greenwich.gov.uk 12 April 2002

I write further to my letter dated 31 July 2000.

Council officers visited your premises on Tuesday 23 April at 9.23pm and observed twelve musicians performing folk music. You are already aware that to have more than two performers at your premises on any day is a criminal offence. The definition of "performers" has never been tested in Court, but even if this was a jam session the Council's view is that these people were "performers". They were being watched by at least a dozen customers, who were tapping their feet to the music and thus being entertained by the performance.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: Cluin
Date: 18 Dec 02 - 04:26 PM

Ah, another old troublemaker, eh? Nick `em all, sez I.
Let God (the courts) sort `em out.    ;)


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Dec 02 - 05:49 PM

You can respond direct to the story on the following -

http://www.thisisdorset.net/dorset/weymouth/


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Dec 02 - 07:23 PM

The Cerne Abbas Giant here has the right response to this. "Up Yours", I think, is what he's saying.

Scurrying around looking for loopholes isn't the answer, nor is keeping things quiet and hoping we'll keep getting away with it. Right now the whole thing is on the political agenda and the legislation is proposed promises to make things a lot worse - no more two in a bar exemption, and it won't just be the landlord or the organisers who will be liable for a fine or imprisonment, it'll be the participants in any unlicensed "performance".

At a time like this the sensible and proper thing to do is to be as public as possible when we do something which breaches a daft law - and to aim for maximum publicity when the authorities come down on us. Which is in line with the attitude demonstrated by the Cerne Abbas giant - who might make an excellent graphic symbol for opposition to the licensing regime.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: Alice
Date: 18 Dec 02 - 07:58 PM

What are they going to do about all the Christmas programs that students put on in the schools? They are open to the parents and public to be "entertained", too, aren't they?
Craziness.

Alice


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Dec 02 - 02:46 AM

Please circulate

What a headline for the Sun!
Cerne Abbas, another giant c**k-up!

http://www.mysteriousbritain.co.uk/majorsites/cerne_abbass.html

You can respond direct to the story on the following -

http://www.thisisdorset.net/dorset/weymouth/

As for the school concert Alice, have a look at the reasoning in the Lords debate on this subject..... Surreal


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 19 Dec 02 - 02:51 AM

The Lord Mayor's procession does stop - it has to for him to gain official permission to enter the city and pick up a 6ft sword..... maybe we could slap him with the PEL writ then?

The majority of school plays are not performed in bars, and not open to the public, but there have been restrictions slapped on a lot of them to do with potential paedophile photograpic activity, which is another reason only parents and grandparents are allowed to view.

And although alcohol is a problem in some of our schools (mainly with a few teachers I know), I don't actually know of any school premises that are licenced to serve alcohol... I know mine sure as hell didn't which is a shame because it would have made the days a lot les tedious.

LTS


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Dec 02 - 05:30 AM

I think the Cerne Abbas Mummers could be the cause celebre that we've been needing. It's seasonal, it's funny, and involves thw world's enornmous explicit sexual symbol. And plenty of potential for double entendre headlines - "what a load of bollocks", "they don't like it up them", "up with the people" and so forth.

And doesn't the Cerne Abbas play have Father Christmas in it?

I suspect this'll be incorporated into future mummers plays all over the place - enter Mr Jobsworth from the Council, who tries to shut down the show, only to be driven away by the Cerne Abbas Giant Flasher opening his raincoat...


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: banjoman
Date: 19 Dec 02 - 06:12 AM

Where are we going next? If I show how fast I can drink a yard of ale and wager money on it am I a (paid) performer?
The real answer to all this is to test the legality of the actions of police or council officials in a court. I know that this happened in Broadstairs a few years ago following the intervention by a new police inspector in a session for spoon players led by the old trout band. It was lierally laughed out of court by the chairman of the local magistrates who accused the police of time wasting. So there is a precedent. Are there any good (or otherwise) Lawyers who dance the morris, perform in mummers plays or just enjoy a good informal session. If so - please get to work. Write to your MP/Euro MP / Local councillor or anyone else you can think of. I'd be happy to lend my weight to any legitimate public protest. How about a mass mummers /dance display in Trafalgar Square?


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 19 Dec 02 - 06:21 AM

I'd definitely support a mass play-in/sing-in in Trafalgar Square. All those CND rallies in the 60's with people like Joan Baez, Donovan etc performing would now be illegal under the PEL laws. Mind you, technically Westminster Council would be the landlords. Is there still a carol service in the square - is that legal ?


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Dec 02 - 07:49 AM

Dorset Evening Echo 18 December 2002
Editorial Comment

Wanted: Some common sense.


So MUM is no longer the word in Cerne Abbas – not indoors, at any rate.

Morris dancers, who have staged their traditional Christmas mumming play in pubs for many years were told this year by council officers that there was no room for them at the inn.

After an apparent complaint to West Dorset Council that the event did not have a public entertainment licence, the dancers found themselves out on the street.

Many people's first reaction may be to say that the council was being heavy-handed, but councils, with responsibility for applying the licensing law, have a difficult balance to strike.

They are required by the Government to enforce the law, but will always find themselves under fire if they do it with too heavy a hand.

The episode certainly reinforces the arguments of those who are calling for a review of the law surrounding entertainment licenses on the basis that the current legislation is simply too petty.

We do need legislation which balances a light touch with a concern for the real issues of public safety at all places of entertainment which are likely to draw a crowd of people.

It is common sense, you might think, but sometimes common sense is difficult to express in law.

You can see the full story and respond directly from this on the following -
http://www.thisisdorset.net/dorset/weymouth/

or echo letters
letters@dorsetecho.co.uk

Please circulate


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Dec 02 - 01:31 PM

Getting a bit political in the Dorset Evening Echo. Headlines today are Dorchester Civic Society writing to Oliver Letwin MP, West Dorset (Photo), and warning of the dangers of 24-hour drinking.

On the Licensing Bill, they are organising WHAT DO YOU THINK? Write to the Editor or email letters@dorset.co.uk.

Is there anything you wish to say?

In the same edition, Chris Lonegan has printed the Petition link and full wording on the Live Muisc page. They have not mentioned the response though. Perhaps you could ?


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Dec 02 - 07:09 PM

It occurs to me that anyone dressed as Father Christmas and saying Ho Ho Ho is presumably engaged in a public performance, even if they aren't part of a mummers play. And therefore they are liable to be pounced on by the authorities if there isn't some kind of a licence.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: Nemesis
Date: 19 Dec 02 - 07:24 PM

IF THIS LAW GOES THRU UNCHANGED,
CHRISTMAS WILL NEVER BE THE SAME!

Already .. under existing legislation this week PEL officers in Cerne Abbas   Dorset have stopped Mummers performing a traditional play ... and then followed them 500 yeards down the road to stop them performing at another pub! (story: Dorset Echo: 18 December )

PLEASE put the details of this protest event in your calendar and pass it on to as many people as possible, and please attend if you can.   Just in case .. the House of Lords has confirmed that carol singing will be a licensable event (same license that a Landlord has to apply for!

                        Monday 27 January 2003, 1:00 PM
                           Parliament Square, London
                               Mozart's Birthday
                                  Silent Protest

To illustrate the apalling impact that the Government's Licensing Bill will have on live and community music-making.
Bring your instrument (AND A GAG -medical-type mouth-coverings work well),
but don't play it.


Contact:Caroline Kraabel 020 7237 1564.
Caroline is part of the London Musicians' Collective

On a personal note: anyone in the Worthing area want to share a charabanc? PM me ..


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Dec 02 - 07:29 PM

Mummers came in during our session at the Cove tonight. All good fun, the pub was entertained and there no problems from officaldom, as there is a PEL.

The licensee did show me a list of items from the council, on a new inspection form for existing PEL holders. He was not impressed as it was really just duplication of the Fire/Safety inspections that the premises would be subject to, even if no PEL was present.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: Nemesis
Date: 19 Dec 02 - 07:34 PM

PLEASE put the details of this protest event in your calendar and pass it on to as many people as possible, and please attend if you can.   Just in case .. the House of Lords has confirmed that carol singing will be a licensable event (same license that a Landlord has to apply for!

                        Monday 27 January 2003, 1:00 PM
                           Parliament Square, London
                               Mozart's Birthday
                                  Silent Protest

To illustrate the apalling impact that the Government's Licensing Bill will have on live and community music-making.
Bring your instrument (AND A GAG -medical-type mouth-coverings work well),
but don't play it.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: Rapparee
Date: 19 Dec 02 - 07:44 PM

Aren't mummers traceable to pre-Christian times? Along with Morris Dancers? And as such, weren't they originally part of a religious rite -- and even if they were originally Christian, isn't their play part of a religious celebration (i.e., Christmas)? Wouldn't that mean that this is part of a state-sponsored suppression of religion?

Does this mean that folks gathering together in their homes to celebrate Christmas with carols and songs and instruments might be violating the law, esp. if the neighbors come over? If I play my trumpet in my home and someone hears me and, for whatever reason, enjoys the music (!), do I need a license?

There's good sense, but there ain't no such thing as "common" sense. If there were, people wouldn't remark on it.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: pavane
Date: 20 Dec 02 - 02:49 AM

Nice try (pagan origins), but I don't think you can prove it, nor was it true!


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: GUEST,Chipinder
Date: 20 Dec 02 - 03:57 AM


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: GUEST,Chipinder
Date: 20 Dec 02 - 04:01 AM

Sorry - hit the wrong button

On my way into work listening to Radio 4 Today Programme they enticingly said there would be a piece on this in this morning's programme but unfortunately I arrived at work before the piece was broadcast. Can't find anything about it on the BBC website. Did anyone else hear it? I hope the piece on national radio made clear the idiocy of the legislation rather than pouring scorn on our traditions and heritage as so many of the media pieces do these days. Still they do say no publicity is bad publicity.

Chipinder


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: Ian
Date: 20 Dec 02 - 04:24 AM

Yes I heard the R4 piece and the mummers and landlady put their case.
ie the tradition had been going on since the 1800s. The landlady did not realise that a PEL was required for the night. The local Licencing authority (chair Jill Haynes)stated that they were acting on a complaint and they had to phone the pub to stop the show. She claimed that "If there are more than two performers different fire regs apply". The licence costs £10.00 and should have been applied for in advance. As for the mummers they had to perform outside but they could not collect for charity as the did not licence to collect cash on the street.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Dec 02 - 05:19 AM

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/listen/listen.shtml

You can hear (RA) item on the above site.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Dec 02 - 05:23 AM

So any c0mplaint and they have to stop it? Well, that's the Lord Mayor's Show buggered for a start...


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: Skipper Jack
Date: 20 Dec 02 - 05:34 AM

Has our present government just discovered this Act of Parliament of 1642?

"If any persons commonly called fiddlers or minstrels shall be taken playing, fiddling or making music in any inn, alehouse or tavern, or shall be taken entreating any person to hear them play...that such persons shall be adjudged rogues, vagabonds and sturdy beggars, and shall be punished as such."


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Dec 02 - 05:40 AM

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/listen/listen.shtml

The council spokes person claimed a compaint did not enable them to turn a blind eye.

When asked if she regetted that they hadn't done this, then claimed they could not turn a blind eye.............

Don't quote this yet as I will try and get the exact words.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: IanC
Date: 20 Dec 02 - 05:42 AM

Just wondering what would have really happened if the mummers had gone ahead. They couldn't do anything to stop it at the time as it's not a criminal matter (or even a public order one). Also, the local council couldn't close the pub under current legislation.

What would have been different if people just ignored the jobsworths in this case? I know there's the threat of legal action but the local council would have to bring a case and prove something in court. What would their evidence be? How would they justify going to court? Judges and magistrates generally hate busybodies wasting court time.

Perhaps we should establish a "fighting fund" and sort out a test case. We'll be performing the mummers play on 3rd January, though I don't think Herts CC are supid enough to send someone out on a cold January evening ... they'd certainly get a reception from the locals!

:-)


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Dec 02 - 05:58 AM

Just wondering what would have really happened if the mummers had gone ahead.

The lincesee would have been prosecuted, and probably pleaded guilty. That is why it did not take place inside. As it is not really up to the mummers, the important people are only the licensee and the council

It is a good point though, in this case if the licensee were found guilty of proving an unlicensed public entertainment, What penalty (if any) apart from a conviction would he have had?

Only the Court can tell us that.

Any licensees out there willing to test it????


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: IanC
Date: 20 Dec 02 - 06:07 AM

Traditionally with this kind of thing, the magistrate or judge awards a 1p fine, tells the "offender" to do it again if he feels like it and gives the plaintiff a very high profile and very public telling-off for wasting the court's time (and don't do it again).

:-)


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Dec 02 - 06:16 AM

Unless on the other hand it's a different magistrate on a different day, and he or she throws the book at the defendant. Justice that is based on the whim of an official is no kind of justice.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: harvey andrews
Date: 20 Dec 02 - 06:20 AM

Was the £10 licence for the one event, or the annual licencing fee of that council?


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Dec 02 - 08:57 AM

You can't tell from the words here but you can hear the relaxation in the voice when the Chairwoman thought she was of the hook by agreeing that they just could not turn a blind eye. Only to be caught competely off guard with the next question!

They have of course been turning a blind eye to matters of public safety for many years. Err, it err, it is part of the err, licensing procedure that has been going on for some considerable length of time.

Today programme BBC Radio 4 20 December 2002

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/listen/listen.shtml

-Mummers plays are a very old and traditional part of English rural history. Short performances taken round pubs and private houses, in exchange for food and drink. It's a custom that dates back to medieval times. There is a strong tradition of them, in the West Country in particular but the tradition, in West Dorset at least has been stopped in its tracks – by the lack of a public entertainment licence.

John …'s [Kay?}been visiting Cerne Abbas to see the mummers at work.

Sound of the play proceeding and of music.

Now this play dates back to Napoleon's time and for generations the Wessex Morris Men have performed it in the pubs of Cerne Abbas in the week before Christmas. And the actors are all dressed up in their medieval costumes with multi-coloured ribbons flowing and as you can hear, their bells are ringing.

Now normally when they get here to the Red Lion pub they go inside – and they perform for a few minutes but this year they were told they couldn't go in.

David Pritchard you're the squire of the Morris Men, what happened then, this week?
We turned up as usual at eight-o-clock. We went to perform the traditional mummers play in two of the pubs in Cerne Abbas and when we got in, the landlady informed us that the local Licensing Authority had been informed and they had informed her that she hadn't got a licence and that we weren't allowed to perform inside the pub this year.

So what did you do instead?

Well, we sort of instead of, well my initial thing is –'in comes I, Father Christmas', instead of that I had to say 'out comes I, Father Christmas' and we came out of the pub and performed in the square outside the Red Lion.

It is very nice and picturesque on a fine evening but you're saying that it puts your whole traditions at risk?

Well, last year it poured with rain, and we certainly wouldn't go to lie in the road in the pouring rain. Yes it does, because if pubs are not prepared to take us in, then this won't be done. The Morris dancing that we do outside the pubs in the area, well if they can't take us in, and the tradition that has been kept alive for hundreds of years will simply whither and die on the bone.

Well, I'm going to go inside and talk to the landlady of the pub and you guys had better stay outside as you are banned, if you are playing.

[….Coates] you are the landlady of the Red Lion, it would have only cost you £10 or so to get one of these licenses so why didn't you?

I was unaware that a licence was required for a traditional village activity like this that has been going on for the past two decades.

What do you think of, that it is required and that you had to ban them?

I think it's a shame because you are going to rule out traditions like this that go on in villages, for villager's entertainment and the entertainment, the own entertainment of the people who are performing.

Do you think that rural life. As we know it, is in danger?

I do, because these sort of things are going to be wiped-out and the traditions that have been going on for years are going to eventually stop and we will lose all our history.

Well. Let me just add, before go that the Wessex Morris Men also raise money for charity when they do this but they couldn't raise money out on the street to do this because they needed a separate streets collections licence – and they hadn't applied for one of those either.

[John K…] in Crene Abbas, there well [Jill Haines] is chairwoman of the Appeals and Licensing Committee on West Dorset District Council, good morning.

Good morning.

This is mad, isn't it?

Err, it err, it is part of the err, licensing procedure that has been going on for some considerable length of time.

Still mad, isn't it?

Err, no it is not mad, it is there to protect the public.

How so?

How does it protect the public?

Emm

Because err, when someone id holding an entertainment with more than two entertainers. There are err, much stricter fire regulations for properties.

So it is just inevitable and something we just have to put up with?

Its something that has been there for some length of time, and err you know, the District Council are fully supportive of the mummers, for sure. But err, if a licence is applied for in advance then err, without predetermining it, we would be certainly more than happy to look at them.

Do you think that this threatens the very thing they do, the way, because of the way it has to work?

Well, what the District Council did was responded to a complaint from the public. We had somebody telephone the officers at the District Council, who said that they understood it was happening and that there wasn't an entertainment licence. Having had a complaint, we had to investigate and…

You couldn't turn a blind eye to it?

We couldn't turn a blind eye to it.

Do you recognise though, would you have preferred to have turned a blind eye to it?

Err, I'm don't turn a blind eye to any situation that could put the public at risk.

Well, [Jill Haines] thank you very much.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Dec 02 - 09:49 AM

Mark has kindly agreed for this to be circulated.

For information, I heard the Radio 4 article and posted the attached message (below) to the Today programme.
Many thanks, Mark.


Mark Gibbens, Development Officer English Folk Dance & Song Society Direct Line: 020 7485 2206 ex.29

From: Mark Gibbens Submitted to Today
Programme, Radio 4, 20.12.02 -----

I was pleased to hear some coverage (20.12.02) of the current PEL crisis which is threatening traditional music, dance and song in England.

However your article rather missed the bigger issue; instead
focusing solely on the dispute between mummers in Cerne Abbas, Dorset and their local council.

The proposed PEL laws are threatening traditional and folk music in all areas of the country and some of the most vibrant cultural traditions are to be found in cities. It is not just about rural life.<

This issue goes to the heart of cultural life in England. The
English are only just discovering that they have as deep and vibrant a tradition as the Scots, Irish and Welsh, yet there is a very real risk that the new PEL proposals headed by Kim Howells will stifle it.

The PEL completely fails to tackle real public nuisance problems such as football matches on wide-screen pub TVs, and instead picks on handfuls of musicians with acoustic instruments or their own voices.

The PEL also falsely categorises a form of cultural expression which is a natural and integral part of people's daily lives as profit-making entertainment for the public. Who's next - people who tell jokes in the pub?

A more detailed analysis of the problem would be much appreciated by thousands of musicians, singers and dancers across the country.

Mark Gibbens, Development Officer, English Folk Dance and SongSociety.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Dec 02 - 05:23 PM

We know that events like these which, in Committee Chairwoman Jill Haines's words 'put the public at risk', are going on, not only in West Dorset but all over the country.

Licensing officers are like a chemical reaction. If they have two elements: 1, that an activity is happening and 2, that the premises do not have a PEL, and off they go. on an automatic and inevitable course.

For it is only these officers that generally know if premises do have PELs, if an event should be advertised.

Officers will not of course take any responsibility for this, and will pass the buck and blame the law and some poor, real or imagined complainant.

For a public complainant is not even necessary. Except to be used try and deflect any criticism away from the officers or the council and excuse their actions. This tactic does tend to work, to some degree.

But the buck remains squarely with the members of each individual council. Who as the Licensing Authority, can decide if unpaid pub customers in activities like sessions, singarounds and mumming plays, are to be considered as 'performers'.

It is to their great shame that even now, not one has decided to use the sensible definition of the word performer' that is open to them.

Licensed Premises: Entertainment Legislation

House of Lords Monday 11 December 2000


2.53 p.m. The Lord Bishop of Oxford asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether, under Section 182 of the Licensing Act 1964, members of the public count as "performers" if they sing on licensed premises; and, if so, how local authorities can enforce public entertainment licensing legislation in a proportionate manner that is compatible with performers' rights under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): My Lords, Section 182 of the Licensing Act 1964 exempts licensed premises from the need to obtain a public entertainment licence where the entertainment provided consists of music and singing by not more than two performers. Whether members of the public who sing on licensed premises count as performers is a matter for the licensing authority to decide, depending on the circumstances.

Ultimately, the compatibility of this provision with the European Convention on Human Rights would be a matter for the courts to determine. As part of our proposed general reform of the licensing and public entertainment laws in England and Wales, we propose to do away with the Section 182 provisions.


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Subject: RE: PEL: Mummers stopped Cerne Abbas
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Dec 02 - 06:43 PM

Could someone confirm the right way of pronouncing Cerne Abbas?


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