Monday, September 07, 2009

Feargal Sharkey does some good

It's not all about trying to protect four outdated companies being head of UK Music - Feargal Sharkey has also been campaigning against the Form 696 which London venues are supposed to fill out "voluntarily" when they put on an event. The Met have backed down - a little:

Today Detective Chief Superintendent Richard Martin, the head of the Yard's clubs and vice unit, announced that venues would no longer be asked for details of the music style. A requirement to provide the telephone number of the performing artist will also be dropped and an independent "scrutiny panel" will be set up to ensure that the form is not misused, Martin said.

"We have listened to the concerns about the form and we have now dropped the question about which type of music will be played – it really does not add anything," he said. "There were things on the form that we did not need. My only aim with this form was to make sure that if people went to music events then they stayed safe there and got home safely."

Sharkey says - correctly - that the changes don't go far enough and suggests there still seems to be some sort of profiling going on in the questions that remain:
He said it was clear that the altered version continued to target musicians from ethnic minorities and he objected strongly to a question which asks about the "make-up of the patrons".

"What is the club owner going to say: 'White, middle class Londoners'. I don't think so," Sharkey said. "These changes raise more questions than they answer. You have to ask how many violent crimes are linked to live music anyway.

"Why should the Met get the details of performers 14 days before an event. These changes will do nothing to alleviate the concerns of disenchanted young artists."

This seems to be a far more serious question than if EMI are losing the odd sale here and there, and a genuine threat to the creative future of the country. If anything is going to smother new bands, it's this suspicious-administrative approach. This is what Sharkey should be concentrating on right now.