Form 696? I don’t think so.

December 6th, 2008

Today, I was informed about an incredible and outrageous new intrusion into everyone’s lives.

The police it seems, are trying to require that all musicians give over information for ‘Form 696’ which looks like this. Read it and try not to explode:

A dozen London boroughs have implemented a “risk assessment” policy for live music that permits the police to ban any live music if they fail to receive personal details from the performers 14 days in advance. The demand explicitly singles out performances and musical styles favoured by the black community: garage and R&B, and MCs and DJs.

However all musical performances – from one man playing a guitar on up – are subject to the demands once implemented by the council. And the threat is serious: failure to comply “may jeopardise future events by the promoter or the venue”

this is what it will detail:

names, aliases, private addresses, phone numbers of all musicians and ethnic background of the likely audience.

Clearly, this is totally unacceptable to any decent person. To be required to fill out a form like this two weeks before a performance and hand it to the police is the sort of thing you had to do in the former Soviet Union. It is certainly not something that people in free countries would ever dream of doing.

Apparently, they are ‘not compulsory’. The phrase ‘not compulsory’ is a new Orwellian catch-phrase for Britain; file under, ‘you are who you say you are’. But I digress.

According to this article on The Register:

In response, Detective Superintendent Dave Eyles from the Met’s clubs and vice office told us that 10,000 such Risk Assessments would be processed this year. He said they weren’t compulsory:

“We can’t demand it – we recommend that you provide it as best practice. But you’re bloody silly if you don’t, because you’re putting your venue at risk.”

At risk of WHAT exactly? And what the FUCK does ‘bloody silly’ mean? Bloody silly in that they will cancel your night and shut your venue down? Bloody silly that you do not just do as we say and STFU?

Public servants should not use language like that. PERIOD.

During all the years of IRA bombings, during concerts where fights broke out regularly and if a band was shit they would have a hail of bottles thrown at them, no one was ever required to fill out such an offensive form as this. These people are just INSANE and they are doing it because they just GET AWAY WITH IT.

The question now is, do you want to put an end to this absurd nonsense?

Of course you do. Here is how you do it.

  1. You get all the musicians country-wide to refuse to allow their details to be recorded on this form, and ask them to pledge not to perform in any place that submits this form to the police.
  2. You get all the promoters to pledge and update their artist contracts to say that that they will not book any of their acts in any venue that fills out Form 696. They will have no choice but to say this, because none of their acts will comply with any venue that fills out Form 696.
  3. You go to the venues, and tell them that no one will book their venues if they fill out Form 696. They will have to add to their contracts legally binding language that forbids them from filling out Form 696. No promoter should book a venue without both a pledge and this language being in the contract.

Once you have all the musicians, the promoters and the venues (specifically in that order) on board, you will have a situation where there will either be music in London or there will not. Music Culture is extremely important in the UK; if it means that no one will play, Form 696 will have to be abandoned. Permanently.

The freedom to associate is not a privilege granted to you by the state. In fact, none of your freedoms are given to you; anything given to you is a privilege i.e. something that can be revoked. Your rights belong to you and are born with you. They cannot be revoked, and you should never EVER comply with anything like Form 696.

If you want to be able to play what you want, where you want, this is the sort of thing that needs to be done; mass refusal to comply with anything that offends you or in any way obstructs your freedom to print, play gather and enjoy your life.

And it IS your life!

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