Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Banning Babyshambles

I was incredulous when I heard that Wiltshire Police had banned indie-wastrels Babyshambles from headlining the Moonfest festival scheduled to take place next week. Given shamble-in-chief Pete Doherty's propensity to not turn up when expected, I assumed this was some story cooked up by the festival organisers to blame a non-appearance on 'The Man' and boost Doherty's outlaw credentials into the bargain.

But no, it's absolutely true! As reported in NME 'Chief Superintendent Julian Kirby, divisional commander of Wiltshire Police, said: "We carried out an analysis of what Pete Doherty and his band does. What he does as part of his routine is to gee up the crowd. They speed up and then slow down the music and create a whirlpool effect in the crowd. They [the crowd] all get geed up and then they start fighting." Police presented their findings to North Wiltshire Magistrates on Monday (August 17), who ordered festival organisers to cancel any appearance from Doherty or Babyshambles. It is believed that the case represents the first time police anywhere in the country have used Section 160 of the Licensing Act (2003) to get a performance stopped'. The festival has now been cancelled.

The police apparently based their findings on an analysis of Youtube footage of Pete Doherty's gig last month at London's Albert Hall - a gig that ended in a stage invasion and some scuffling with bouncers, but was hardly a riot. Although the sight of Wiltshire's finest panicking about a load of skinny indie kids is farcical, there is a serious point here. In London we've already had the police dictating what genres of music clubs can play, with grime nights in particular coming under the spotlight. Now a specific band has been banned on very dubious grounds. Thank god Kurt Cobain is dead, Nirvana were prime offenders in playing quiet then loud songs and would never have got another gig on the M4 corridor. As for the ultimate quiet/loud band, The Pixies, we can only hope that they never try and play anywhere west of Reading.

1 comment:

valter said...

I can tell you that this reached the newspapers in my country, ie outside of the UK. The actions of the police defy belief!