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I received an email from my friend Mark, who runs Iron Man Records. He forwarded me a petition that’s doing the rounds, and while I’m usually reluctant to play the ‘Forward this on’ game – this is pretty important:

The 696 Form compels licensees who wish to hold live music events in 21 London Boroughs to report to the police the names, addresses, aliases and telephone numbers of performers, and most worryingly, the likely ethnicity of their audience. Failure to comply could result in fines or imprisonment.

We believe this places unnecessary and frankly Orwellian powers in the hands of the Metropolitan Police, an institution which does not have the best record of racial fairness. The 696 form can only serve to deter the staging of live musical events – a positive form of activity in London and all cities – stifle free expression and quite possible penalise certain genres of music and ethnic audiences. It is an intrusion too far. Pass this on.

The petition is here
http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Scrapthe696/

More information here and here.

Names, addresses and genres of performers? Well, there goes the whole tradition of Open Mic nights in the London area. As if it’s not hard enough with over-zealous noise abatement enforcement and all the other disincentives for a thriving live culture in the inner city…

Go sign the petition, will you?