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back to article Bill seeks to decriminalise pianos in pubs and schools

A private member's bill proposing to decriminalise offering musical instruments without a licence received its second reading on Friday. The, er... what? You may well ask. The Licensing Act of 2003 introduced bans on unlicensed musical instruments appearing in public. The law, intended to promote musical events at small venues …

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You forgot to mention the morris dancing exemption

The provision of entertainment or entertainment facilities is not to be regarded as the provision of regulated entertainment for the purpose of this Act to the extent that it consists of the provision of (a) a performance of Morris dancing or any dancing of a similar nature or the performance of unamplified, live music as an integral part of such a performance, or (b) facilities for enabling persons to take part in entertainment of a description falling within paragraph (a).

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A wise man once said:

You should make a point of trying every experience once, excepting incest and folk dancing.

Sir Arnold Bax (1883-1953)

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Paris Hilton

what do wise men know?

Sir Arnold Bax (1883-1953) - Depends on how fit your sister is, surely?

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Facepalm

And you Brit think

us 'Merkins are crazy?

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Happy

At times, crazy yanks, yep.......

But it really goes back to the people..... you had your men Reagan, Carter.... we got the chuckle brothers.

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Childcatcher

Merkin?

I'm not sure that's the best name, unless I have missed a deliberate self debasing joke, in which case I apologize.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merkin

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Anonymous Coward

Yes, Merkin.

It gets used around here as a mispronounciation of "American."

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Windows

How ?

They are attempting to revive a dead cow ?

And are they throwing any money at the dead beast ?

How about maybe feeding the musicians, who appear in sub 100 audience venues.

In the hope that happy to be nuetered, broadband surfing music lovers will suddenly crave a trip to the nearest chemical toilet for a gullet full of consumer poo, for the sake of the UK's economy. And this is supposed to keep them amused as they while away the night on and on into the wee small hours, just to experience the novelty of a pair of politically sanitised muzaciens.

Now, if the pubs were allowed to sell your actual, "real" drugs, alongside those bloody awful chemicals dressed up as refreshment, but hey, these Eaton educated Tory overlords just ain't that smart. Besides, I believe that all their loverly monies is invested abroad, somewhere sunny no doubt, not here in this cultural husk.

ALF

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Trollface

I can smell me some irony in here...

Al Fazed: "these Eaton educated Tory overlords just ain't that smart. "

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A third of pubs didn't apply for a licence?

I have no reason to doubt the figures, but I don't understand it. The 2003 act introduced a single licence covering booze, entertainment and late night food. So every pub in the land had to reapply for their licence (unless they intended to go temporance). If they couldn't be arsed to mention that they occasionally offered entertainment then they can't have been to bothered about losing the right to provide it.

Still glad the law's being loosened, though.

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Big Brother

Statist much?

"then they can't have been to bothered about losing the right to provide it"

Hayek can now be tapped for the provision of necrological rotational energy.

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Missing the point birchanger

In order to qualify for a permanent booze+music license, you needed to convince your local licensing body that you qualified as a music venue. Most small pubs couldn't do this, or couldn't afford the expense of getting people to certify their venue.

In lots of cases, the pub itself is considered 'too small' to be a music venue, so all the little pubs who used to have a guitarist/pianist + vocalist come in on a Tuesday night to encourage a few more people in now don't.

Before this law came in, my local used to have 'bands' in on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays every single week. Afterwards, no live music. Of the 40 odd pubs in my home town, none currently have regular music events.

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Pint

"....a musical performance may be committed"

Ah, you've been to some of the gigs at the Cumberland Arms then?

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Anonymous Coward

Cumberland Arms

Mr Stevenson, there is fine morris-related dancing in the Cumberland Arms, as well you know. The music is, of course, a little iffy. Oh, and thanks for playing for us Bath the other week.

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Mushroom

Must be a different Cumberland Arms

Morris dancers wouldn't make it into Byker alive let alone out.

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Morris and Byker

I'm thinking of something more in the sword department...

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Facepalm

Eh?

"The Licensing Act of 2003 introduced bans on unlicensed musical instruments appearing in public. The law, intended to promote musical events at small venues..."

Maybe it's a Tuesday afternoon thing, maybe it's the slab of heavily processed birthday cake I just consumed for lunch but that just doesn't seem to make sense. In order to promote, you must first ban. Were they trying to appeal to the nations rebellious side?

What?...I?...I mean...

That's it, I'm giving up, see you on Wednesday, maybe!

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Yes, Labour did that a lot

A very large number of Labour-sponsored Acts that purported to 'promote' something actually either outright banned it, or created massive red-tape thus effectively severely limiting it.

Don't forget that it was Labour that made it illegal to protest against the Government without a licence(!)

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Languages

> A very large number of Labour-sponsored Acts that purported to

> 'promote' something actually either outright banned it, or created

> massive red-tape thus effectively severely limiting it.

Yes, the one I particularly enjoyed was encouraging more kids to study foreign languages at school by making them optional. And encouraging more of them to go to university by charging for the privilege.

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Facepalm

Labour at its best

Act in haste, repent at leisure.

Except we can't, since leisure would be a breach of the licensing conditions.

Just another example of why Labour should NEVER be allowed to govern this country again.

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</title>

...or the Tories...or the Lib Dems

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Thumb Up

<body>

Well, certainly the Lib Dems. You can normally rely on the Tories to not over legislate, it makes it harder to make money.

Get any lefties in for any long period of time, and they tend to start thinking they can legislate the perfect society, qv 97-2010, 74-79, etc.

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<p>

Yeah, legislation makes it very difficult for rich people to skim money from Mr Average.

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Anonymous Coward

(untitled)

"Just another example of why Labour should NEVER be allowed to govern this country again."

I dpn't know your age, but are you not yet aware that none of them should ever be allowed to govern this country again ? Trouble is, we have no decent alternative waiting in the wings.

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Could always try

the Belgian answer

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Headmaster

The belgian answer?

You mean, have up to six* governments at any one time (now five, as you hint at, as one went for a prolonged liedown)? I don't see how that helps.

There's separate governments there for person-bound and land-bound issues --- as if you can separate those (e.g., urbanism: planning schools = person-bound, roads = land-bound). *To wit: 1 federal gov (now down for a long time), 3 linguistic govs (Flemish, French and German), 3 regional govs (Flemish, Walloon, Brussels); with the caveat that the Flemish have integrated their two local govs (the Walloons can't as they have the German speakers on their terrain, AND they want to meddle in Brussels).

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Anonymous Coward

there IS an alternative

if you live in Scotland or Wales at least...

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Pint

Are we having fun yet????

You make an interesting point - in my lifetime I've seen the political makeup of this country change - once in the hands of a geriatric bunch of elitist aristocracy (right or left, take yer pick).

But now....oh yes, now....right this bloody minute....you should be afraid to utter two words that should freeze the marrow in yer bones...you should teach yer children to arm themselves, and build bunkers in the deepest wilderness that they can find...and to hide from these monsters that have arisen from the depths of our darkest nightmares....

Yes, my fellow meaningless ciphers, I mean...

PROFESSIONAL

POLITICIANS

(and no, I won't pay for the dry cleraning bill)

Be Pure

Be Vigilant

BEHAVE!!!!

<beer icon, because that's the only thing that lessens the pain of shattered dreams>

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Coat

Surely parallelisation is the answer?

Build more sets of Houses of Parliament. Have a Conservative government in one, a Labour government in another, a Lib-Dem government in a third, and so on. As long as you pay taxes to (at least) one of the parallel governments, and don't break any law passed by a government to whom you are up to date with your taxes, none of the others are allowed to chase you.

Labour could then pass all the daft laws they liked, but they would only apply to people who paid taxes to Labour. The Tories could cut taxes for the rich all they liked, as long as they didn't run out of money.

Any reason that wouldn't work?

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Go

@Trouble is, we have no decent alternative waiting in the wings.

Direct rule by Her Maj

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Anonymous Coward

Not just musicians

Think it was that licensing act that had other "unintended consequences" in that it changed the way you could apply for temporary event licenses ... my sons primary school have as one of the major fundraising events by the PTA a summer BBQ at the school bringing in £3-4k each year with the bar sales being a major component of the takings! Until this Act it was just a matter of getting a temporary license which, I think, could even be done via the landlord of the local pub applying for an extension of his license. However, with this act temporary licenses were only allowed for events with something like up to 500 people .... and when you've a school with 420 pupils with on average 2 parents each then it was clear you could not restrict numbers to that (as children counted towards the total) and the alternative of applying for an annual premise license was a complete non starter due to cost (especially as cost is linked to size of building and a school holding 420 pupils is bigger than the biggest mega-pub!). Think once this was realized something was done to remove this restriction but for at least one year the BBQ had to become a BYO event.

N.b. another amusing victim of this were The Who ... R4 did a documentarty on their restaging of their Leeds Uni refrectory gig. Everything was going fine until at one point the Uni admin person pointed out that they didn't have a license in place for Sundays when they planned to do it so they'd either have to go with a temp license and limit attendance to 500 or shift to Saturday!

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Anonymous Coward

pupils with on average 2 parents each

Eh? Either none of the pupils in your sample are orphaned or from single-parent families, or some have more than two parents. How does that work?

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Boffin

Step-parents

...nuff said

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Re: average 2 parents

If your parents have separate and either has found someone else, you could easily have 3 or 4 adults turning up on account of one child.

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Headmaster

Kids with more than two parents

Some single parents and orphans - yes.

Also count step-parents, adopted parents, legal guardians, grandparents and foster parents.

- With some kids having a mix of all the above. Average of two may actually be an underestimation.

Teacher icon - well, it's to do with school...

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Boffin

If my memory serves correctly...

It all depends on the type of average used - most people think in terms of the Arithmetic Mean average, but there is also such things as Modal and Median averages, plus lots of variations on them and some nasty statistical averages that aren't really averages to most people.

...mines the one that looks a bit like an anorak...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Step-parents

Oh yes, fair enough. Seems obvious now.

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Anonymous Coward

What about steps

Mum - natural father - step father could be three parents

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Illegal to leave instruments lying around?

What the fuck kind of tinpot dictatorship is this anyhow?

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Ru
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A tinpot, hmm?

I believe that could reasonably be used as a makeshift musical instrument. Do you have a license for that, sir?

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Unhappy

do you have a license for that song?

I once heard lefty folk singer Robb Johnson do a song called "do you have a license for that song". At the time I thought it was an ok piece of satire. Didn't realise New labour had made it real...

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Coat

Tinpot? Oh no no no, we can't have that...

The process necessary to produce tin in reasonable quantities for making tin pots is would also produce far too much pollution, particularly carbon pollution of the worst sort, and the end result is such a terrible, tatty, *regressive* sort of thing with none of the charm of a north african raffia bond clay cooking urn. Tinpots have consequently been banned, but this is a good thing as it will create more job opportunities for the north african raffia makers, and all the associated urn producers, clay miners and so forth, and it provides a much needed boost to our own economy by creating a healthy tin recycling industry. As a result, it would be fair to say that we are a culturally inclusive non-discriminatory environmentally aware non-metallic (or indeed anti-metallic) single unitary source of law, morality, behaviour and sustenance.

"Dictatorship" is so 20th century darling...

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Anonymous Coward

Well...

...we do have a Ministry of Justice and an Armed Forces Day now, so I'm guessing it's some sort of banana republic, but without the bananas. Someone should tell the Queen!

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Anonymous Coward

@ Well

Interesting how so many countries whose governments have little regard for justice find the need to have a Ministry of Justice. Shades of Orwell's Ministry of Truth.

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Whatever you say, say nothing...

...when you talk about you-know-what

For if you-know-who should hear you, you know what you'll get

They'll take you away to you-know-where for you don't know how long

So for you-know-who's sake don't let anyone hear you sing this song

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Flame

No, it was more barking than that

The licensing requirement is for live music. 'Justification' being they might get disorderly, there might be loud noise, and Think Of The Children. All of which was already covered by other laws.

But there was no license needed for recorded music, however loud. No licence needed for big screen football match viewing, however rowdy.

No licence needed for commercial events where you are entertaining the clients.

No licence needed for educational events.

So the only thing NuLab made illegal was music made for enjoyment. People having fun. Like they've been doing for many thousands of years, ever since music was invented, without needing a government licence to graciously grant them that as a special privilege.

Though this has of course happened once before in this country. And at least Bliar failed in his attempt to become Lord Protector.

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What happens if people break out their slaved mobiles

and play music from digital keys of digital keyboards?

What if people slave their phones together on wi-fi or bluetooth with speakers on, and allow a grand pianist or harpsichordist to take over their congregated phones via a single phone?

I could see Martin Gore having a grand time playing some sort of spin of "In a Manner of Speaking", modified to reflect the inanity of a law that might make makeshift instrument handling illegal.

Say, is there an app for that? Someone should write such an app for iPhones, Androids, and Palm phones to turn into a MASSIVE surround-sound system emitting by those who opt in at random movement walks.

Wait, the law might say it could drown out air raid alarms, gast attack alerts, and subway fire sirens...

Worse, I might be extradicted for trans-atlantic subterfuge...

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Its not the chuckle brothers fault

I'm convinced there's a cabal of public servants who score brownie points for getting the most lunatic clause(s) into bills, or just try and make them unworkable.

A simple walkthrough of the process's involved in most bills reveals some seriously deranged thinking.

There's a saying 'never put down to malice what you can put down to stupidity'.

I guess they never heard of Psychopathic Beadleitis.

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Big Brother

re: Psychopathic Beadleitis

Does it need a license?

If not can I have one please?

Hold on a minute....Beadleitis??

Not Jeremy Beadleitis by any chance?

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AH yes...

The tiny dead hand of government.

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