Monday, October 20, 2014

Mary Lou Lord: Salem's plot

Mary Lou Lord was born in Salem - yes, that Salem - and used to play on the streets.

For the best part of a decade, though, she hasn't because of a city ordinance banning amplification. She explained this on Facebook earlier this month:

For many years I used to play music (busking) in my home town of Salem ma but then as Salem grew, someone came up with a street performers ordinance of rules with states that they are NOT allowed to use AMPLIFICATION.

Without my little amp, my small voice could not compete with the ambient noise going around the town so, I was forced to discontinue. For many years now I have not played in Salem because of this permit's language.
However, she discovered this year that there was an exception to that hard-and-fast rule:
But there is a loophole that I have recently found that makes it perfectly legal to use AMPLIFICATION if you are proselytising.
Soliciting is still forbidden - hey, it's not a free-for-all - but providing you're proselytising, you're good.

On Saturday, Mary put the loophole to the test. How did it go?:
After 7 years of abstaining from playing with an amp (always quietly, and always on the outskirts in non residential areas), I finally played in Salem with an amp through the Proselytizing loophole I discovered recently.

Right to the minute, the woman named Ellen (the lady who goes around checking on things and her cohorts arrived (a minute before I played), By the way, she was NOT in attendance at the City Hall meeting on the new ordinance rules, nor did she have a clue about the legal doc I presented her with (she even went out of her way to take a picture of it with her phone-um, Ellen, it is ONLINE) and I presented her with the printed out ordinance (legal doc) of the outlines.

For the first time in 7 years, she walked away, unable to say a word. It was a great feeling, and a great night. A very small victory, but one that mattered to me.
Let's hope that Salem's response is to redraft the law more sensibly, rather than just plug up the loophole.

After all, it's not like Salem would want its city name to become a byword for misacarriage of justice, would it?