Unique Street Dance Style By Jennifer Jones

Jennifer Jones defines herself as a “second line dancer who incorporates all the dance styles”. In reality this means she creates a whole new street dance style of her own.

source: The Advocate

Self confidence creates life opportunities

One of the harder challenges to an artist, whether you’re doing street dance or any kind of art, is to decide that what you do deserves to be seen – especially if what you do hasn’t been done by anybody else. So, how do you make that decision? How do you pass the insecurity of showing it to people?

Jennifer Jones answers this complicated question easily “going and taking it to the streets”.

Maybe her creative musical family has something to do with that confidence . Her father, the legendary musician Joe Jones, probably gave her the space to explore her ideas and be so certain of her calling.

But it was the instant audience on the streets of New Orleans that gave her proof that her instincts were right. her street dance style worked…it just worked; “the best critic is the critic on the street, they will tell you the truth” she says.

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 1.17.13 PM

Being spontaneous with her dance style, can make it seem like it’s not carefully planned, but in reality Jennifer Jones has a stage career and puts a lot of preparation in her street dance. Everybody know the streets are competitive. If you want to make money you have to be good.

“It takes a lot of preparation. It looks simple. It looks like you just showed up. but you have to know the commitment that goes into be a street performer can be utilised across your entire life. The lesson there is about self discipline, it’s about believing in yourself and keeping the spirit when people think you are crazy”.

street dance Jennifer Jones

In a world with fewer traditional opportunities, Jennifer Jones’s story tells all of us to create our own opportunities, to live our dreams and to have the life we imagine for ourselves, no matter what life that is.

“So bring the light, get your shine on everybody, GET YOUR SHINE ON”

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Busker changes national law…for the worse.

First a busker…

A beggar or a busker in Thailandbegging-and-busking-ksr-2Foreign-Man-His-Family-Begging-On-KSR







Remember our post about “Stick Boy Bangkok“, and photos showing a European man with two young children busking in Thailand?

His signs said he was trying to raise cash to cover insurance costs for his daughter’s operation. Immigration police told him busking was illegal. There was controversy over whether Lukas had busked once or repeatedly, whether he should have his kids with him at all, why he didn’t have travel insurance, and should this even be illegal? Forum chatter ensued.

 …then a beggar…

Stick Boy posted again, showing that

The Czech father kicked off the streets of Patong for busking and begging with his young family has reappeared in Bangkok, busking and begging with his kids again. Facebook user Ben Wood spotted Lukas Matena at Victory Monument, and shared a photo on a popular Bangkok FB group. Mr Wood also added that the busker had a sign up saying “no photos”, no doubt to avoid publicity as Mr Matena is fully aware that it is illegal for him to be singing on the streets of Thailand for money.

…inspiring a massively dangerous law.

From an article titled “New law seeks better control over beggars, and buskers

THE CABINET yesterday gave the green light to a draft bill on street beggars, which empowers the Social Development and Human Security Ministry to send migrant beggars back to their home countries. Also under the bill, buskers and street performers will be required to seek permission from local administrative bodies before taking to the streets.

So. A guy busks in Thailand, gets in trouble, the story is picked up on social media, and now the Thai government is going to deport migrant beggars and require ALL buskers to seek permission to busk!

Is this a bad apple spoiling the bunch, or a rotten apple basket?

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Busker Rights and 21st Century Payments


Protecting NYC Buskers’ Rights, and giving them cashless payments

Digital payments and an end to the wrongful arrest of New York City buskers.


New York, NY, 30th March 2015: The Busking Project, a global advocacy movement, has launched a digital toolkit that will transform the way in which buskers (street performers) get paid. New York Buskers are now using special edition “BuskNY” signs that enable them to accept cashless payments in the street.

New Yorkers carry less cash every year, putting traditional busking at risk. With an increasing number of audience members having to ask ‘do you take cards?’, buskers are beginning to modernize. Using The Busking Project’s digital platform, busk.co, they can print and display signs directing passersby to their profiles. There, people can donate to the busker via PayPal, become a ‘fan’ and stay in touch.

However, this is not just about money. Nick Broad, The Busking Project’s founder, has greater goals:

“We’ve released these signs to help stop busking from dying out in a cashless society,” he says, “destroying the livelihoods of thousands of artists in New York.

“But this isn’t just a tech solution. We want a complete paradigm shift. At best, buskers are seen as failed artists. At worst they’re seen as criminals, or ‘beggars with a gimmick’ – and often treated that way too.”

For example, despite being a city with a star-studded lineage of street performers (including the late Robin Williams), buskers here continue to get fined and arrested on a daily basis. Recent buskers who have decided to fight the NYPD in court over wrongful arrest include Erik Meier, Andrew Kalleen, James Woodard and James Gallagher. Even worse – this year is the 30th anniversary of the legalisation of busking on NYC’s subways and streets, and can otherwise be viewed as the 30th year in which buskers are being unlawfully ticketed and arrested for busking.

From the complaint filed by Kalleen, Woodard and Gallagher’s attorney, Paul Hale:

“Despite the law being clear for over three decades, New York City police officers continue to harass, evict, assault and arrest New Yorkers for playing music underground in perfectly legal circumstances…. The NYPD has specifically ordered the illegal conduct of its officers by directive. This is evidenced by numerous statements made to the arrestee plaintiffs by their arresting officers. Statements such as, ‘There is a memo that told us to clear you guys out’; ‘Our bosses are making us do this’ and ‘If I don’t write you a ticket my boss will think I’m not doing anything.’”

Broad continues:

“I’d heard that the cops themselves didn’t know the law, so, I called my local precinct in Manhattan and pretended I was an out-of-town busker who wanted to know where I could play. The cops told me ‘anywhere, you just gotta get a permit from the mayor’s office’. So I called 311, and they rightly told that no-such permit exists. That famously farcical video showing Andrew Kalleen’s wrongful arrest just isn’t surprising to any busker in New York City. They’ve all been there.”

In December 2014, The Busking Project moved back to New York to partner with BuskNY, who came up with the slogan on the signs: “Celebrating 30 years of legal freelance performance in the New York City subway.” The signs have been designed to appear more “legit”, in an attempt to remind police officers that busking is a legitimate exercise, and therefore lower the fine and arrest rate of buskers in the city.

Matthew Christian, the founder of BuskNY, says:

“As the 30th anniversary of legal subway performance arrives, it is tragic that New York City continues to eject, ticket, and arrest the artists who entertain over four million daily riders. BuskNY’s mission is to ensure that these performances take place without unlawful harassment.”

Broad says:

“It’s amazing to see what BuskNY is doing, and we’re honoured to be helping them, but it’s a shame that organisations like theirs even have to exist. Busking is being increasingly criminalised around the world by misguided local authorities who believe they are acting in the public’s interest. In fact, they are silencing an art form that has significant, demonstrable social and economic benefits.

“We know from our research on busking that the digital revolution is a real threat to buskers’ livelihoods, and that people are willing to pay buskers with their cards. But our main aim is to get local authorities to start encouraging artists to revitalise our increasingly sterile and homogenous town centres, instead of treating them like criminals.”

Paul Hale, the attorney representing these buskers, is actively seeking other buskers/plaintiffs to join the lawsuit.  He can be contacted at 718-554-7344






Nick Broad, Founder, The Busking Project

Matthew Christian, Founder, BuskNY

Andrew Kalleen, busker suing NYPD

James Gallagher, busker suing NYPD

Paul Hale, attorney representing buskers

Coyote and Crow, buskers in NYC


Additional Busker Event Notice (not a busk.co event):

When: Thursday, April 2nd, 7 p.m.
Where: City Lore Gallery  56 East First Street, New York, NY 10003
Admission: $5 suggested donation at the door.
What: Busking at 30: Sounds and Stories from the Underground
Who: Roger Manning, the guitarist whose historic 1985 legal challenge opened the subway to artistic performance. Lloyd Carew-Reid, whose challenges completed the legalization. With performances also from Morgan O’Kane (headline act) and Theo Eastwind, producer of Busker Ball. And Susie Tanenbaum, who works at the Queens Borough President’s Office and previously wrote the book “Underground Harmonies: Music and Politics in the Subways of New York.
Why: “With the recent rise in street performer arrests and harassment, “Busking at 30″ aims to highlight the importance of this underground culture and what it brings to the diverse and vibrant fabric of New York City.”

Further Reading:

Kalleen, Woodard and Gallagher VS the City of New York (ongoing). PLEASE NOTE: Paul Hale, the attorney representing these buskers, is actively seeking other buskers/plaintiffs to join the lawsuit.  He can be contacted at 718-554-7344

Know your Rights”, by Susie Tanenbaum and City Lore, is an online guide detailing the rights and responsibilities of New York Subway artists.

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Busk.co Launch in London

Full Press Kit Here

Press Release Here

Photos and media for Press Kit here


Busking modernised for a 21st century audience

Cashless payments, better social status and a paradigm shift

London, UK 10th March 2015: Today, The Busking Project, an advocacy movement for buskers worldwide, has launched a digital toolkit for buskers that will transform the way in which they make an income. London Buskers will be able to download special edition signs that enable them to accept cashless payments in the street, and turn passersby into long-term online fans.

The average amount of cash people are carrying in the UK has dropped under £20. This change in behaviour is putting the traditional art of busking at risk. With an increasing number of audience members having to ask, “do you take cards?” it is time for buskers to modernise.

busk.co (The Busking Project’s digital platform) enables buskers to embrace digital payments. They can print and display signs with a unique URL, e.g. busk.co/1234. Audiences can go to their online profiles, donate to them via PayPal, become a “fan” and hire them for gigs.

However, this is not just about money. Nick Broad, The Busking Project’s founder, has greater goals:

“We’ve released these signs today to help stop busking from dying out in a cashless society, destroying the livelihoods of thousands of artists around the UK.

“But this isn’t just a tech solution. We want a complete paradigm shift. At best, buskers are seen as failed artists. At worst they’re seen as criminals, or ‘beggars with a gimmick’ – and treated that way too. It doesn’t matter how good you are. Even Boris’ “best buskers”, the Kings Parade, were arrested last year in Leicester Square. The MET said busking is “a driver of crime”. Our FOI request, submitted along with Lord Clement Jones, proved that the MET’s statement was based on gangs and gamblers, not busking at all.

“We are hoping that using our service, buskers across London and the UK will become networked and involved with each other, so that next time a busker gets arrested a lot of people will find out about it very quickly. Hopefully if the cops are considering arresting someone, and they see one of our signs, they’ll think twice about it.”

In the last year there has been a succession of local authorities arresting and criminalising buskers, not least in London, prompting Lord Clement Jones to bring it up in the House of Lords. He says:

We need a change of mindset by some local authorities. Busking should be seen as life enhancing and an essential part of our culture in Britain. We must ensure that legislation designed to deter antisocial behaviour is not used to prevent appropriate busking.

In Camden, buskers now need a council-appointed panel to deem them okay to perform, or face a £1,000 fine and having their equipment confiscated. In Bath, they’re looking to use the controversial Antisocial Behaviour Act 2014 to make busking a criminal matter. Canterbury will potentially confiscate and destroy buskers’ instruments. Dublin, York, Liverpool, Chester, Glasgow…all have recently considered changes in policy.

The Busking Project has recently been awarded funding from Nominet Trust, the UK’s leading Tech for Good funder, to develop a mobile app that will further support buskers to become financially empowered. The app will enable buskers to accept cashless payments on the street, sell their music direct to people via their phones, hire out their services for gigs and build lasting relationships with their audiences.

It will also record data that will help researchers link busking to the social and economic benefits it provides to society, enabling advocates to fight for buskers’ rights when they next get arrested or licensed out of existence.

Dan Sutch, Head of Development Research at Nominet Trust says:
‘As the world moves online, it is vital that our most excluded groups don’t get left behind. We need to find new ways to ensure that people, who are often financially and digitally, as well as socially excluded, are able to benefit from the sorts of frictionless micropayments that larger enterprises now rely on. This is a wonderfully humane project from a team that is clearly so dedicated to its target audience. To have had a hand in the development of ‘the Airbnb for busking’ would be something we’d be enormously proud of!’

Please find attached quotes, contact details for London buskers you can interview and media.




Contact details below


Nick Broad, Founder
+44 7736 925 000
skype: omnigut

Nick is currently in New York City for TBP’s New York launch (another city where buskers are continually being arrested).

Press Kit Here


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Busk for the Spitalfields Crypt Trust, 14th June

Spitalfields Crypt TrustOn Sunday 14th of June, the Spitalfields Crypt Trust (SCT) are putting on the “Shakespeare’s Shoreditch Garden Party”.

This is a summer fete to celebrate the launch of the new Shakespeare’s garden at St Leonard’s Church.

They are paying travel expenses (for local buskers) and lunch. Here’s why you should get involved:

In aid of SCT, a local charity that has been working with the homeless and people in recovery from drink and drug addictions since 1965. This year we’re celebrating our 50th anniversary and this is one of our celebratory events.

And a quote they just got in:

“i got a nice woman now nice home everything i could ask for not in doorway. If something is bothering me now i talk it out with someone, not drink it out because the problem still there next day and day after so i can say this. SCT showed me how to live again. i spent more time in the cells i could of got job there. SCT turned my life around.”

When: 2-5pm on Sunday 14 June
Where: St Leonard’s Church, Shoreditch High Street, E1
Submit by: Friday 13 March
Who you are: a busker doing a Shakespeare-related act (if possible), but pretty-much any act is invited.
Payment: Travel expenses (if you’re local) and lunch
Contact: Sonia Rai communications@sct.org.uk

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Criminals of Culture?

Those who were once considered the cultural ambassadors of our art forms, the sacred keepers of our rich heritage, are now treated like criminals and beggars.

Who are they, and Where are they?

Kathputli Colony, in New Delhi, India, is the world’s largest settlement of street performers, inhabited by over 3,500 families of artists. This in situ slum houses performers from all over the country, with over 60 trades, ranging from puppeteers, magicians, musicians and dancers, to traditional healers, acrobats, stilt walkers, painters, and so on.

Some of these performers are World Record holders, others are artists who have spread the splendid vivaciousness of their art internationally, as representatives of India. The magic and charm of this colony has reverberated all over the world.

Kathputli Colony, the world’s largest settlement of street performers

Image from India TV News

What’s the pressing issue for Kathputli Colony?

Many of the current issues that the buskers of the Kathputli Colony are facing are due to a political and societal conspiracy.

They have been deemed as beggars and criminalized by the government under The Bombay Prevention Of Begging Act, 1959. Moreover, in the attempt of making New Delhi a slum free city the land of this settlement has been sold to private developers who are envisioning a concrete jungle in place of this reservoir of culture. They’ve made provision for matchbox size apartments for the street artists.

The street performers of Kathpitli Colony are also battling with the reality of their art forms being on the verge of extinction, in large part due to the dwindling support and respect they get from the government and society at large. Instead of being treated like the ambassadors of this country’s cultural heritage, their existence is belittled, with no acknowledgement, and no provision of space to showcase their art form.

Kathputli Colony, the world’s largest settlement of street performers
Image from the Independent

Do they want matchbox apartments?

No. The artists are not looking for high-rise buildings to live in. They are happy with their present settlement, but want initiatives to better their day-to-day lives, such as sanitation, water and cleanliness of the colony. They fear that their rehabilitation in modern day apartments would curb their freedom to practice their art. Moreover, the essence of spontaneity in their creativity (enhanced by their current communal and participatory interaction) would be taken away.

They are not asking the government for money or jobs. They just want a free space, like Santa Monica or Venice Blvd in LA or Covent Garden in London, where they could freely perform and earn through tips in their hats. This will not only give them a sense of stability but would also re-popularize these old art forms, especially among new generations.

What’s the aim of ‘Criminals Of Culture?’

Our aim is to reinstate respect for these artists by making performing arts a more active part of the education system.

Street performance creates a triune impact on society. First, the learning curve and performance of children will rapidly grow, as they will imbibe education through more creative paths. Through a single art form like puppetry they can learn multiple skills, like painting, dress designing, music composition, and so on, besides the art of puppetry itself.

Second, the artists will have a more stable base, and will receive a sustainable mode of living. And third, society will be able to preserve the country’s heritage.

Kathputli Colony, the world’s largest settlement of street performers
Image from Framed Magazine

Why do we need to engage globally to save them?

Street performing is an important example of creativity and individuality – an inherent part of any urban landscape. They make our streets lively, dynamic and exciting, providing a sense of belonging and trust in the community.

But, as this sense of personal connect is eroding, many forms of performing arts are under threat today all over the world. As cultural practices become standardized, many traditional practices are abandoned. Even in cases where they become more popular, only certain expressions may benefit while others suffer.
If we can’t do anything to save the World’s largest settlement of street performers, then the future of many others is also at risk. Just sparing a thought is no longer enough. They deserve to be fought over for are they really ‘Criminals Of Culture?’

Wait for the next post to see a new set of artists and skills being unfolded in trailers for ‘Criminals of Culture?’.

Director & Producer: Pallavi Jain
Cinematographer: Akhil
Edited By: Kabeer
Sound Engineer: Rahul

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Man Busks After Daughter Is Hit by Car. Gets in Trouble

Busking in Phuket Town









I found out on “Stick Boy Bangkok” that photos were circulating in a Reddit forum, showing a European man (“a farang”) with two young children busking in Patong, Thailand.

His signs said he was trying to raise cash to cover insurance costs for his daughter’s operation.

Immigration Police Step In

Almost immediately, Lukas Matena, the farang, was told that foreigners collecting donations is illegal, and that he had to go to the embassy to seek help. Lukas explained:

“We arrived in Phuket on January 4 We were inside Chalong temple. I was parking the motorbike and did not know Rebeka had decided to cross the road by herself. A car coming from the inside the temple hit her and caused three fractures in her jaw.

We were to have left Phuket last Thursday, but because of the accident we have to wait until our daughter gets better.”

Rebeka had to have two operations. The driver’s insurance covered the 800,000 baht hospital bill (around £16,000 / $24,000), but the family needed extra for their extended stay in Thailand.

The Result

Lukas had busked for one night only, “in case of excess medical bills not covered by the insurance”, but stopped when he discovered that the insurance would pay for everything.

However, forums began to buzz about what he should have done:

Why didn’t he have travel insurance to cover his family? Why did he busk “in case of” insurance excesses, and not wait until afterwards? Why should it be illegal for a father to look after his kids by busking in this way? Surely he should be commended!

…and yet, then people began to explain that they’d seen him busking before the accident, back in December, and he was using his kids to hat the crowd. This is definitely against the law. He’s a freelance UX designer and globetrotter.

So, he broke the law, he brought his young kids to Thailand, without travel insurance, and got them to help him busk, and was breaking the law. Buuuuuuuut, they were entertaining people, and probably having a great time.

Irresponsible parent, or awesome holiday maker?

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The Surface NYC

Some fantastic videos from The Surface NYC

Shane Conerty

My name is Shane Conerty, I grew up in Pittsburgh, I moved out here when I was 18 and lived all over, Vancouver, Hawaii, Australia and north Carolina etc., been back in new york for two years now. I have a project called Color Collage, you can find this project in colorcollage.net, just recently signed to a label here in Brooklyn called paper garden records, got a single coming out in February the record is coming out later this year, why the subways of NYC? I mean I’ve been doing this everywhere I lived since I was 18, all over the world, in a lot of different cities, its something I really like to do its payed practice and every time is different…
– #ShaneConerty

SONG TITLED :: “That’s All She Wrote”

Contact ::

Website // ColorCollage.Net

Email // Thecolorcollage@gmail.com
Fb // facebook.com/ColorCollage
Insta // @color__collage
Twitter // @Color_Collage


Verbal Ase

“Subway trains and stations pretty much becomes my stage, even on days that I don’t perform and I walk on the trains, I would just stand there and say to myself “Yes my stage” even though I’m not doing anything”.

“Some people look at me and they don’t know what I’m going to do, so I actually get intimidated a lot, once I see somebody smile towards me, It takes a little bit of that tension off of my shoulders from the stage freight, People can feel my energy, I think its why people like me so much in the subways, trains, and stations”.

“one of my experiences overtime is when hurricane sandy came to New York and I was actually very reluctant to perform because I didn’t want to annoy people, so I went out and it actually turned out to be one of my best days ever, I had so many people coming up to me thanking me personally for cheering them up from having a bad day of no power or flooded streets, for me thats actually better than money, people coming up to me and they thank you and they smile, thats more valuable than money to me”.

Contact ::

Booking // 212-224-0003

Email // info@verbalase.com

Website // verbalase.com

Instagram // @VerbalAse


Alejandro Salvia

TS NYC :: ”As I walked to scout the next The Surface NYC talent, I heard the echo of a powerful, melodic tune in the long hallway of Grand central station, I met Alejandro, such an amazing talent, dancer Katrina Moise was just a walking by stander who decided to videobomb the filming by dancing to his music, which ended up being a beautiful and powerful performance by both Alejandro and Kat, their chemistry was amazing, it was not planned or rehearsed in any way, just true natural talent, the art of bringing individuals together through music”

Alejandro Salvia ::

“Yo soy cantante de ópera, el estilo lírico es lo que he hecho toda mi vida. Desde que era un niño imitaba a Plácido Domingo y estudié y soy graduado de la Universidad de las Artes de Cuba, en canto lírico, pero soy versátil, no me gusta encasillarme, hago todo tipo de repertorio”.

“El subway de Nueva York ha sido una plataforma increíble. Cuando yo lllegué a esta ciudad estaba preocupado por dónde iba a estudiar, dónde iba a cantar, y sabes, estaba como estancado, de repente un día con mis amigos pasé por el Subway, y bromeando con ellos me puse aa cantar a ver si alguien me daba un dólar, sabes, bromando con ellos y de repente me di cuenta de que a las personas yo les gustaba, entonces me dije: Ah no, espérate, ya tengo un lugar donde ensayar! Empecé a venir acá a cantar, y visualizaba en mi mente, este es mi lugar para practicar todo los días y de repente de convirtió en un lugar para hacer un concierto diariamente, porque la gente te hace sentir que estás en un concierto, cuando te graban con un celular yo me imagino que me están grabando en la televisión, no sé es un reto maravilloso, a mi me encanta”.


“I am an opera singer, lyrical style is what I have done all my life. Since I was a child always imitating Placido Domingo, I studied, I am a graduate of the University Arts of Cuba, opera singing, but I’m versatile, I do not like to pigeonhole myself, I make all kinds of repertoire”.

The New York City subway has been an incredible platform. When I arrived to this city, I was worried about where I would go to school and where I was going to sing, and you know, I was stagnant, suddenly one day with my friends we went into the Subway, and jokingly I got up to sing to see if anyone would give me a dollar, you know, joking with them and suddenly I realized that people liked my work, so I said: Oh, wait!, now I have a place where I can rehearse! So, I started coming here to sing, and visualized in my mind, this is my place of practice where suddenly has become my every day concert, because people in the subway make you feel like you’re at a concert, when the people record me with their cell phones I imagine myself being recorded for TV, it’s a wonderful challenge, I love it”.


Contact ::

Alejandro Salvia
Facebook // Alejandro Salvia
Website // AlejandroSalvia.Com

[Dancer] Katrina Moise
Facebook // Katrina Moise
Instagram // @Trinamo7



“I was free styling in union square, and he was singing and also dancing in union square, we found out we lived in the same neighborhood in Brooklyn and shared the same musical taste, so we decided to perform together”

THZ Contact:
Email: Hackavelii7@gmail.com
Instagram: Zion_Mohammed


Najah Lewis

“The subway doubles as a practice spot, and booking agency. I love the amazing acoustics! It also affords me the opportunity to hone my craft, while making additional funds to supplement my income as an artist. I’ve booked some of my biggest gigs from being seen/heard underground. Also, the stations I play, have people from all walks of life. I meet so many wonderful people, who also support me outside the stations…by coming to my shows. My priority and obligation IS music. It’s my career, and where I put all my focus. It’s also where I get my greatest enjoyment. I perform at various venues in NYC, Recently, I performed at Waldorf Astoria & Rockefeller Center (Did I mention I absolutely LOVE performing)!!!”

-Najah Lewis

Bedford Ave. L Train // [Wrecking ball cover]

Instagram // najahmusic

Facebook // facebook.com/najahmusic

Email // najmonique@yahoo.com

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Busker punches man in face, then gets strangled

Meet David Mulder. He busks to raise money for his church. Let’s just remember that, when we look at what he’s famous for.

First up, when he punched a guy in the face for giving him a “wet willy”. The video of the ordeal was caught on camera, and for a long, long time it did the rounds under the title “Busker punches man in face”.

Editor’s note: not a recommended way of dealing with hecklers.

After that, he seems to have become a bit of a target for assholes. Like this guy, who put him in a headlock, choking him for long enough to get scary.

So now what?

Well, David Mulder’s next act includes a helmet and a cricket bat. He says:

“Most Aussies love cricket, especially after our Ashes win, so I’m hoping it’ll help promote a bit of love during my act instead of aggression.”

We wish him the best.

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Quasi-public space: the death of busking!

quasi-public space in harlow

Very few things make me angry; as a busker, a passive mentality is essential. Some of the things that have been said to me whilst performing have been far from complementary, but luckily this is rare. Recently though, I have been sticking it to the man and busking in an area in my home town of Harlow, which is quasi-public space.

Quasi-public space? What is that I hear you ask. From this Guardian article:

“Quasi-public space” is land that is open to all comers but which is under private ownership – classically, the public areas of shopping centres. As the law stands, owners of quasi-public space have absolute discretion over who can enter their property and what they can do there. Anyone remaining on their property without consent is liable for trespass.

What this means in practice that a busker can be harassed within 20 minutes of setting up, threatened with permanent exclusion from the entirety of the area…and the police basically treating you as a criminal.

Legally speaking, if you are not in this area as a consumer and/or have no commercial intensions, the property owner (and therefore their security staff) have the right revoke you invitation to be there. I can be banned from walking in MY town, for the act of busking.

This is where I rant!

Why do I have to be consumer constantly when walking in my town? Since when has walking in my town been by invitation? And since when was busking an illegal activity?

Why has this liberty been taken away from us?! Because the companies behind the building of these new areas in our towns and cities want to be able to control what goes on at the cost of our own civil liberties. Our rights have been taken away from us without our consent.

It means security staff on the authority of the landowners have the right to “act worse than ISIS”, as one bystander said while they were reprimanding me.

I understand that I am only looking at this form the perspective of busking, but the creation of a quasi-public space has an effect on peaceful protest and demonstration.

It will be the death of our towns let alone the death of busking!

Stefan Mullard

*Editor’s Note: If you want to read a brilliantly-written and very accessible criticism of the topic of how BIDs are limiting our rights in public spaces, click here.

The Busking Project feels that if businesses want to control public spaces, they should be allowed to under certain conditions. BIDs should be allowed to help the Local Authority clean the pavements in the area, and to do various infrastructure projects. But they should not be allowed to take away basic freedoms, like busking, or protest, or anything else that is our legal (or constitutional) right.

Whether ANY public spaces should be “sold off” to BIDs is another issue. But, if we could convince BIDs that buskers were good for the local economy, they could potentially be bigger advocates than Local Authorities, as complaints about busking would come up against the same indifference as complaints about advertising and signage – good for business is good for towns, so like it or leave it.

As we are increasingly finding, government-controlled public spaces are not necessarily freer than quasi public ones.

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