Anorak News | What A Racket!

What A Racket!

by | 25th, July 2002

”THERE is only so far you can get standing in front of your mirror with a tennis racket,’ says Billy Bragg. ‘You’ve got to get out there in front of an audience to see if any of it works.’

Fender Stratocaster

And here Billy is, singing away with his guitar, surrounded by an audience of jovial – and somewhat portly – middle-aged men with beards.

But this isn’t an ordinary audience, as the Guardian explains. It is a group of MPs who are campaigning against the law that forbids more than two people to sing in a pub that doesn’t possess the necessary licence.

Normally, licensing officers turn a blind eye to minor infringements, such as Madonna and Guy singing cockney favourites over a couple of bottles of stout.

But recently they have been clamping down, as part of what the Musicians’ Union believes to be a revenue-raising exercise by local authorities.

A Greenwich pub was threatened with prosecution when punters stamped their feet to folk music in a Greenwich pub, and the landlord of a pub in Dorset was given a formal warning after pensioners went mad and sang Happy Birthday.

‘This ludicrous situation has gone on long enough,’ says Kevin Brennan, the MP for Cardiff West, and all sensible people will agree.

The solution is obvious. Ban folk music outright, and make an example of the ring-leaders with stiff jail terms. Pensioners should be allowed in pubs only under supervision.

Then issue cheap licenses for Billy Bragg-style entertainment at clearly marked venues, which the rest of us can avoid like the plague.

Posted: 25th, July 2002 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink