Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Teddy Girls

I am hoping to get to the Photographers Gallery (London) next week for an exhibition on 1950s Soho Nights which apparently includes some images by Ken Russell. I am sorry I missed the Bombsite Boudiccas exhibition a couple of years ago, featuring pictures Russell took of London Teddy Girls in 1955.

For the launch of the exhibition at the Spitz in East London, the organisers tracked down some of the women in the photographs, as reported in the Times:

'"We weren’t bad girls,” says Rose Shine, then Rose Hendon, who was 15 when she posed for Russell. “We were all right. We got slung out of the picture house for jiving up the aisles once, but we never broke the law. We weren’t drinkers. We’d go to milk bars, have a peach melba and nod to the music, but you weren’t allowed to dance. It was just showing off: ‘Look at us!’ We called the police ‘the bluebottles’ – you’d see them come round in a Black Maria to catch people playing dice on the corner. But we’d just sit on each other’s doorsteps and play music.”

The teddy girls left school at 14 or 15, worked in factories or offices, and spent their free time buying or making their trademark clothes – pencil skirts, rolled-up jeans, flat shoes, tailored jackets with velvet collars, coolie hats and long, elegant clutch bags. It was head-turning, fastidious dressing, taken from the fashion houses of the time, which had launched haute-couture clothing lines recalling the Edwardian era. Soon the fashion had leapt across the class barrier, and young working-class men and women in London picked up the trend.

...Rose and her group of West End teddy girls would meet at the Seven Feathers Club in Edenham Street, North Kensington, a youth club popular with both the boys and the girls. “There was a jukebox and dancing,” she says. “Just tea and cakes, because we didn’t go to pubs then. It wasn’t until we were 20 that we might go to the pub. We weren’t bad, not like some of the boys. There was this song called Rip It Up… Well, the boys, they used to go and rip the seats.”

...Teddy girls from different parts of London rarely mingled. Grace Curtis (then Grace Living) was one of the girls Russell photographed in the East End. “We hung out down the Docklands Settlement – a club where there was space for dancing and boxing. We were East End. In those days you just stuck to your area. There was a little snack bar in the club where you could buy drinks and we just all got together and danced.”

Both women hoot with excitement when they remember dancing The Creep by Ken Mackintosh – a slow shuffle of a dance so popular with teddy boys that it led to their other nickname of “creepers”. “It’s the best dance,” says Curtis. “You used to dance or jive with your girlfriends, but for The Creep you could choose your partner. You could pick up a fella and go and dance with him.”

(more at When the Girls come out to play, Times, 5 March 2006)
The bottom photograph shows Elsie Hendon, 15, Jean Rayner, 14, Rosie Hendon, 15, and Mary Toovey on a bombsite in Southam Street, North Kensington, West London.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas nightclub tragedy in Peru

'Police in Peru were searching Friday for the person who threw a tear gas canister into an unlicensed discotheque early Christmas Day, causing a stampede that killed five people, Peruvian news reports said. Police also want to talk with the owner or manager of the disco, El Buum, in the southern Peruvian city of Juliaca, the state-run Andina news agency reported. Three women and two men died from asphyxiation as hundreds of young people trampled each other trying to get out of the disco, Andina reported. The three women have been identified as two 20-year-olds and a 17-year-old, but the two men remained unidentified.At least six others ended up in the hospital...

TV images of rescuers rushing into the upstairs disco captured some of the pandemonium. "Help us, please," one woman is heard yelling desperately. "Water," a man pleads. "Open the door," someone else shouts. Survivors described the panic.

"You could see all the people leaving, dragging each other, asking for water. And my sister, I found her fallen to the ground. I took her to the hospital, but she was unfortunately already dead," Canal N TV, a Peruvian 24-hour cable news channel, quoted one young man as saying.
"The kids were falling. They fell to the ground and everyone was crying out for water. It was packed," an unidentified young woman is quoted as telling Canal N'.

Source: CNN, 26 December 2008

Uganda: the death of a disco dancer

The Police in Arua district have detained Nyadri district Police commander Benedict Ojingo and Police constable Rashid Nyakuni over murdering a student. Ojingo and Nyakuni, were arrested after Stephen Enzabugo, a Senior One student of Oleba Seed Secondary School, was shot and killed during a dance in Alikua trading centre on Christmas Day. The two allegedly opened fire in an attempt to stop the dance. They were enforcing a ban on night discos that had been imposed by the local authorities. One of the bullets hit Enzabugo on the forehead and killed him instantly...

The Nyadri resident district commissioner, Mary Akwiya Anecho, however defended Ojingo, saying he was enforcing the late night disco ban. “We had agreed to stop any discos in the area this festive season because we wanted to avoid violence. So, the DPC (Ojingo) was merely enforcing what we agreed. We think the death was an accident. It is very unfortunate and we are very sorry to the parents,” Anecho said.

Source: New Vision Online [Uganda], 29 December 2009

Friday, December 26, 2008

Argentine Floggers

From Latin American Herald Tribune, 26 December 2008:

'A 16-year-old boy died over the weekend in the central province of Cordoba after being beaten by other youths, police said, adding that the victim was apparently attacked for looking like a "flogger," a popular new fashion in Argentina. Three suspects, two of them 16 years old and another who is 20, have been arrested for allegedly attacking the teenager, hitting and kicking him as he was leaving a discotheque early Sunday.

Precinct chief Oscar Criado told Argentine media that the victim was wearing "clothes that identify floggers," as Argentines call those who contact each other publishing photos on Internet social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. "Flogger" comes from, a photoblog social web site that is particularly popular in Argentina. Floggers usually wear tight jeans, canvas sneakers or skate shoes, colorful T-shirts, with a hairstyle that includes a fringe that tends to cover the eyes completely or partially, and is the same for girls and boys.

Other common characteristics include listening to electronic music and dancing in their own peculiar way. The most popular move, related to the French tecktonik and the Australian shuffle and the Charleston of 100 years ago, consists of rapidly spreading one leg, hitting the floor with the heel, and drawing the other leg backwards, and then quickly changing the position of the legs (spreading the other leg, and shifting backwards the one that was spread)...'

Here's how ('floggers,glams, chetos villeros etiketense todo es posible!' sourced from youtube):

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

O Come O Come Emmanuel

I am a bit of sucker for Christmas carols - well, even uber-atheist Richard Dawkins enjoys singing along to them. And of all the carols, my favourite is O come, O come, Emmanuel

For me, there's something about the continuity of human expression. On a personal level, a continuity with songs sung in childhood at school and on our family's sporadic visits to church. On a deeper level, a continuity with generations who have sung the same song. OK so this hymn in its current form only goes back as far as the mid-19th century, but the words are a translation by John Mason Neale of a Latin text ("Veni, veni, Emmanuel") parts of which date back at least as far as the 8th century. The tune likewise is believed to originate from a 15th Century French processional for Franciscan nuns, although it may be even older.

The text is based on the biblical prophesy from the Book of Isaiah (7:14) that states that God will give Israel a sign called Immanuel (Hebrew for 'God with us'.). The prophet Isaiah is generally dated to the 8th century BC, so the subject matter of the song is getting on for 3,000 years old. I like the idea that - language barriers notwithstanding - a Jewish refugee in Babylon, a Roman slave, a medieval French peasant and a 17th century Digger would immediately understand what this song was about.

Of course continuous tradition is a double-edged sword - there is a continuity of religiously-sanctioned oppression and war, the dead weight of superstition and prejudice. Hearing the present day Pope's absurd statements about homosexuality reminds me of why it is important to hold on to a critique of religion and clericalism.

On the other hand, there is another tradition of radical Jews and Christians drawing on Biblical verses for inspiration for rebellion and social transformation - from peasant revolts to liberation theology. 'O come, O come, Emmanuel' with its call to 'ransom captive Israel, That mourns in lonely exile here' can certainly be sung with such meanings in mind. And its source, the Book of Isaiah is full of admonitions against those who 'grind the face of the poor' and fail to 'seek justice, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow'. Famously it pictures a future world where 'they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more'.

While Christians believe that Isaiah's prophecy was fulfilled in the form of Jesus Christ, religious Jews dispute that the promised Messiah has already come and gone. I am sure that one of the reasons for Christian anti-semitism was the Church's hostility to a minority in the midst of Christendom who publically questioned their absolutist interpretation of the Bible. For instance in Barcelona in 1263 there was a famous four day disputation in front of King James I of Aragon between a Dominican friar, Pablo Christiani, and Nahmanides, a rabbi. The latter denied that Jesus was the Messiah on the simple basis that he had failed to deliver - work, war and death were still very much around - 'these punishments were not annulled by the advent of your messiah'. The King rewarded Nahmanides for his rhetorical victory in the debate - even if he disagreed with him - but later he was to be banished from Spain (source: Kaddish by Leon Wieseltier).

Nahmanides certainly had a point - where was the new heaven and new earth promised in Isaiah? But personally I tend towards the sentiments of the secular hymn that declares 'No saviour from on high delivers, No trust we have in prince or peer, Our own right hand the chains must shiver, Chains of hatred, greed and fear'. Still I guess I have moved to a position where I no longer see atheism as a necessary indicator of radicalism (for instance there are some quite dubious aspects of Richard Dawkins' politics in my view). Similarly I no longer assume that anybody who uses religious language is a superstitious bigot. And I can certainly appreciate a good hymn!

I have included three versions of this song here for your listening pleasure (just click on links to download).

Blyth Power - O Come O Come Emmanuel (MP3)
The first is by Blyth Power from a 1986 tape they put out called 'A little touch of Harry in the night'. Although they played countless anarcho-punk benefit gigs, Blyth Power always had a broader frame of reference than most bands on that scene (Shakespeare, Shelley, trainspotting) and liked to challenge the moral certainty and narrow-mindedness of some Crass punks - for instance by playing a hymn!

Belle and Sebastian - O Come O Come Emmanuel (MP3)

B & S's version was recorded live for a Xmas 2002 radio session at John Peel's house (the female part is sung by Tracyanne Campbell from Camera Obscura). The band's Stuart Murdoch is one of the people who has challenged my bigoted conception that all Christians are bigots - a former church caretaker who is a sex-positive socialist (sample lyric 'she was into S & M and Bible studies, not everyone's cup of tea, she would admit to me').

Sufjan Stevens - O Come O Come Emmanuel (MP3)

Sufjan Stevens has released a whole series of Christmas albums with a mixture of his own and traditional songs, now nicely collected in boxed set, Songs for Christmas.

Have a good holiday!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rubbish soundtracks

Soundtracks can make a film, or certainly enhance it. For instance, the soundtrack to Juno is excellent, with its indie pop/anti-folk vibe perfectly complementing the feel of the film, and seeming true to the people in it. In the closing scene the main characters sing Moldy Peaches ‘Anyone else but you’ and it is entirely believable.
But sometimes soundtracks seem to bear no relation to the film - snatches of seemingly random tunes (or ones aimed at a similar demographic to the film) dropped in here, there and everywhere just to justify the existence of a soundtrack album. Most of the time this crass product placement goes in one ear and out the other, but sometimes the music jars so badly with the film that it ruins the moment completely.
The worst example I've come across recently is in the film Blood & Chocolate which I watched last night. In the scene in question, a handsome young American comic book artist and his beautful girlfriend (who is in fact a werewolf) are climbing over the rooftops of Bucharest, looking at the wolf statues on the remains of an ancient castle, while being trailed by other werewolves. Potentially a moment of tension and excitement - but what music was playing? Incredibly, Cash Machine by Hard Fi, a prosaic account of living in London, going to the cash machine and... er.... finding there's no money in your account. Yes, just the song you'd choose for a moment of Romanian lycanthropy! It's not a great film at the best of times, but that just about finished it off for me.
If anyone can think of a worse example of inappropriate soundtrack syndrome let me know.

Monday, December 22, 2008

December policing round-up

England (London): squatted pub evicted (Islington News, 19 December 2008)

'Bailiffs have evicted squatters who turned an empty Holloway pub into a late-night basement rave club.The squatters, who are believed to have moved in a month ago, were ejected from Tufnells in Tufnell Park Road on Tuesday morning... A bailiff, who did not wish to be named, said: “They didn’t really trash it that bad. They took their mattresses with them when they left. It was all very peaceful.”He added: “They put mattresses upstairs and turned the cellar into a club. One guy had a Buddha room with joss sticks and plants and a statue of Buddha.”'

England (Essex): 'Ten jailed after police battle at rave (Saffron Waldon Reporter, 11 December 2008)

'An illegal rave near Great Chesterford earlier this year which resulted in police helicopters from three forces being scrambled has resulted in 10 men being jailed. Chelmsford Crown Court was told on Monday that 60 officers were injured in the rave raid and were damaged. Objects thrown at police included glass bottles, cans, stones, metal poles, lighted pieces of wood, logs and mud and fireworks. Ten men, some of whom gave themselves up to police later after seeing themselves on BBC's Crimewatch, admitted violent disorder and were jailed for a total of almost 10 years. The court was told that officers from Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Herts, Beds and the Metropolitan Police were drafted in for the raid. As well as the defendants sentenced today another 34 were arrested for drugs offences'.

India: Mumbai drug testing (Times of India, 21 December 2008)

'The anti-narcotics cell (ANC) of the Mumbai police has sent summons to 36 people, including 10 girls, who have tested positive for narcotic substances at a rave party in Juhu on October 5. The state forensic laboratory submitted its second report on Friday, which contained the test details of the 36 partygoers. "They have to present themselves before the court or the police in a week's time," said deputy commissioner of police (ANC) Vishwas Nangre-Patil. "The second report submitted showed that of the 43 samples, 36 tested positive for Ecstasy. In the first report, 109 people had tested positive for drugs," he said... The police had booked 231 people for allegedly being under the influence of the narcotic substances. Those who tested positive for Ecstasy would have to appear before court and file fresh bail pleas'.

India: open air parties banned in Goa

'While hotels, big and small, will continue with their planned new year's eve programme, albeit on a smaller scale and with incentives attract tourists thrown in many feel the positive part of the ban on open beach parties from December 23 to January 5, will be the stopping of rave parties. The open air parties with their dubious links to drug peddling and consuming will be dealt with firmly, police sources told TOI. "Rave parties on the beach or anywhere else will not be allowed at all," IGP Kishen Kumar asserted. If any complaint is received, the police will "immediately" take action and stop the parties. "Besides, we will keep strict vigil on all such areas," he added. Police sources further said, "This year we haven't noticed rave parties as locals are not taking any chances in allowing them to use their place either." ' ( (Times of India, 21 December 2008)

'Unwilling to take the ban on beach parties lying down and feeling cheated by the state government's decision to ban open beach parties shack owners have decided to submit a memorandum to the government demanding compensation. Cruz Cardozo, president of the Goa Shack Owners Welfare Society, said that the government should either compensate shack owners for their losses or forfeit the license fee of Rs 30,000.... He said many shack owners are feeling the heat as they have paid huge advances to book bands and other entertainers for Christmas and New Year celebrations (Times of India, 22 December 2008)

Botswana: Nightclubs closed by police (Mmegi online, 26 November 2008)

'Lawyers acting for two Gaborone nightclubs will this week apply for the jailing of the Commissioner of Police for contempt of court. Others to be cited in the application, for defying a court order, include the Station Commander of Gaborone West Police Station and the section leader of a unit that raided the nightclubs on Friday night.

The lawyers are instituting contempt of court proceedings after the police ordered the closure of Grand West and Satchmo's nightclubs last Friday night. The police claimed that the two nightclubs - both in Gaborone West - were operating without licences. The two nightclubs have been closed since Friday on police orders. The police action comes after the High Court granted an interim order that, among others, stipulates that the police should not harass the nightclubs following their application seeking an interdict against the police'.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More vinyl archaeology

I've posted before on Excavated Shellac, a site dedicated to '78 rpm recordings of folkloric and vernacular music from around the world'.

But there are many more shellac/vinyl archaeologists out there. One of the most interesting sites I've come across recently (thanks to Bob from Brockley) is Locust Street, whose author seems to have set themselves the task of telling the history of popular music in the twentieth century year by year - starting with 1900, and now reaching as far as 1909. As well as music, there's lots of historical material and some great contemporary images.

Also of interest is Snap, Crackle and Pop, rediscovering 'The dusty sound of old records, other people's detritus picked up from boot sales, flea markets and charity shops. Forgotten music for our enjoyment'.

I just wish I had the time to listen to all this music... though careful what you wish for - plenty of people are finding themselves with more time on their hands at the minute, but without the money to enjoy it: it's called mass unemployment.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Jitterbugging in London 1944

I've been spending a lot of time searching through the treasures to be found at the recently released Life archive of photographs. Among my favourites so far are this collection of shots taken by David E. Scherman at the Paramount Dance Hall in Tottenham Court Road, London in 1944. They show a couple in what appears to be a jitterbugging competition, and an African American soldier dancing with a British Women's Auxiliary Air Force member.

Friday, December 12, 2008

More on Sonic Torture

In the new journal Nyx - a noctournal (produced by people associated with the Centre for Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths College, New Cross), Mark Teare writes A Chapter in the Secret History of a Musick Yet To Be:

'Music's abilities to connect with the emotions and to alter our psychological state are being exploited and perverted in a number of ways in a variety of locations, from office or commercial spaces to clandestine interrogation cells. What we generally consider to be a harmless form of creative expression becomes a tool, coldly employed in the manipulation and control of populations, numb from the constant stimulus of programmed information'.

Teare mentions a number of uses of music as instrument of torture/warfare: in Panama 1993, when invading US forces surrounding the building where the dictator/former US client Manuel Noriega was holed up where 'troops bombarded the embassy with constant loud heavy rock music in an effort to drive Noriega out'; in the same year at the FBI siege at Waco, Texas, where the Branch Davidians 'were treated to marathon sessions of loud music in order to disturb their sleeping patterns and break morale inside the camp'; and in Iraq during the Fallujah offensive in 2004 when 'US troops engaged in psychological operations' used 'high powered speakers mounted on tanks and humvees'to play 'AC/DC, Metallica, Led Zeppelin, Eminem and Barney the Purple Dinosaur at high volume for long stretches of time to disorientate and confuse the enemy'.

See also: Against Music Torture

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Against Music Torture

Tempting as it is to make cheap jibes about the torture of having to listen to Limp Bizkit under any circumstances, musical torture is a serious business. Playing the same songs over and over again at high volume without a break - sometimes for weeks on end - might not leave any bruises but it's easy to see how it could literally drive somebody mad. There have been many reports of the use of this kind of torture across the world, including in the secret prisons run by the US and its allies.

So the new Zero dB campaign (zero decibels = silence) against musical torture launched this week by Reprieve is welcome. So too is the support for this campaign by the Musicians Union and musicians including Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine (RATM), Massive Attack, The Magic Numbers and Elbow. It must be very dispiriting as a musician to know that your song is being used in this way, especially if, like RATM's Killing in the Name Of, the practice is the complete opposite of the song's sentiments.

Looking through the list of songs that have been used in torture, it appears that they fall into a number of categories. Some seem to have been chosen because of their aggressive sound - AC/DC, Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, Limp Bizkit, RATM etc. Others though seem to have been chosen for their saccharine banality - perhaps the contrast between children's TV themes like Sesame Street or Barney the Purple Dinosaur and the reality of being tortured is itself an assault on people's sanity.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Mouse Organ and the Hoot Planet

The death this week of children’s programme maker Oliver Postgate (1925-2008) has prompted an outpouring of nostalgia from everybody raised on 1970s British TV. And I don’t see why I should be any different. Some of my earliest memories are of Pogles Wood and Noggin the Nog, but it’s really Bagpuss (made in 1974) and the Clangers (1969-74) that had the biggest impact, programmes Postgate famously made with his co-collaborator Peter Firmin in a cowshed in Kent. Music was an important part of both programmes.

For the unitiated, Bagpuss was set in a bygone shop run by a girl called Emily (played by Peter Firmin's daughter) - a shop where nothing was sold, but things just waited in the window for their rightful owners to claim them. The show featured folk songs sung by real folk musicians - John Faulkner (the voice of Gabriel the banjo-playing toad) and Sandra Kerr (the voice of Madeleine Remnant, the singing doll). But most memorable was the high pitched singing of the mice who shared the shop with Bagpuss the cat - and who maintained The Marvellous Mechanical Mouse Organ.

The Clangers was set on a planet populated by pink mouse like creatures and their friend the Soup Dragon (inspiration for Scottish indie band The Soup Dragons). There was also a cloud that floated over the planet dropping musical rain drops. In one episode, Tiny Clanger is floating in space on her music boat – with her friends the flowers - when she encounters the Hoot Planet, made up of musical horns. Later, her brother makes an ill-fated attempt to make a rocket ('now what has Small Clanger made - a rocket, I don't like the look of that') and a soup pipeline, something that is contrasted unfavourably with Tiny's invention, with the help of The Music Trees, of a Pipe Organ ('Listen. Music I wonder what that is?... Tiny clanger has made an organ... very good, yes now that is better, that is something really useful').

Not hard to read an implicit anti-militarist message here (music is better than missiles), not surprizing either as Postgate was an active peace campaigner for most of his life - see writing at his website. I actually saw him once in the 1980s speaking at a Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament rally in Canterbury. I also once met the grown-up Emily Firmin from Bagpuss in a squat in Brixton. Well I guess we all have to move on from cuddly toys, even magical ones that come to life when we're not looking - but it's nice to remember them too.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Bigger Slump and Bigger Wars?

Like many people around the world, I'm trying to get my head round the 'credit crunch' financial crisis. Six months ago there was pretty much the same amount of people, needs, goods, houses, productive capacity etc. as today. So how come, without anything fundamental changing, we have moved so quickly from 'boom' to 'crisis' with thousands of people losing their jobs? Clearly there is an irrational element in the economy that is more or less beyond the control of the people who pretend to be in control, let alone the rest of us. But beyond platitudes about the inevitable cycle of crisis in capitalism, understanding how and why is not so easy. If you want to get into these debates you could do worse that start at Radical Perspectives on the Crisis, which has lots of different takes on the matter.

There's not a lot of musical guidance on this issue, but one exception is Stereolab's brilliant Ping Pong (1994):

The lyrics are a neat summary of a marxist take on the cycle of boom and slump:

it's alright 'cos the historical pattern has shown
how the economical cycle tends to revolve
in a round of decades three stages stand out in a loop
a slump and war then peel back to square one and back for more

bigger slump and bigger wars and a smaller recovery
huger slump and greater wars and a shallower recovery

you see the recovery always comes 'round again
there's nothing to worry for things will look after themselves
it's alright recovery always comes 'round again
there's nothing to worry if things can only get better

there's only millions that lose their jobs and homes and sometimes accents
there's only millions that die in their bloody wars, it's alright

it's only their lives and the lives of their next of kin that they are losing
it's only their lives and the lives of their next of kin that they are losing

Of course the scary thing about this particular take on crisis theory is the suggestion that slump is followed by war before recovery - an argument that is sometimes put forward to explain the mid-20th century (1930s depression - 1940s war - 1950s/60s - post-war boom). Since then there have been lesser crises which have not been resolved through war, so let's not get even more gloomy and start scanning the skies for missiles. Still there are tough times ahead, and competition between economically desparate global powers could fuel increasingly dangerous conflict - unless an international movement emerges to challenge this drift.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Form 696

Form 696 sounds like the name of a Belgian industrial outfit (oh no that was Front 242) but is actually a pernicious example of bureaucracy - to be precise it is a form that the Metropolitan Police (Clubs Focus Desk/Clubs & Vice Unit) in London is 'asking' all licensed premises to fill in for music events. The promoter and the venue are required to list 'all artistes, the acts, sound systems, other promoters performing' (including DJs) with details including name, address, telephone number and date of birth.

It is not actually a legal requirement to complete the form - not that you would know that as it states 'This form must be completed by the licensee in consultation with the promoter'. The reality is that if the police express concerns about a venue's license it is likely that the license will be taken away - so when the form says that ' full co-operation is regarded as demonstrating positive and effective venue management' everybody knows that this is an implied threat. In England and Wales, the Licensing Act 2003 requires venues to have a license from their local council to sell drink and/or allow music and dancing - and councils are obliged to take into consideration the views of the police.

Controversially, the form singles out particular kinds of black music, asking 'Music style to be played/performed (e.g. Bashment, R'n'B, Garage)' . As I said before when discussing the Met's apparent crackdown on grime, this is a bit more complex that 'the man trying to stamp out the kids' music'. People really are being murdered at some club nights - at the seOnelub in October for instance - and it is true that some kind of music nights seem more likely than others to attract this kind of violence. But the police already have the powers to stop people carrying guns and shooting people - so is it really necessary to label entire genres of music as implicitly criminal and to require police approval for the the simple human act of making music and dancing?

Pressure group UK Music (headed by ex-Undertones singer Feargal Sharkey) is seeking a judicial review of the use of the form, arguing that it will discourage venues from putting on music (see article in Independent). A facebook group Stand Up to Form 696 already has over 3000 members and there is also a Scrap 696 petition. You can read the actual form here.