Form 696

From The Independent:

Teenage kicks will be harder to get if publicans and managers of other small venues are forced to comply with a new piece of bureaucracy called Form 696, a former punk rock star has warned.

The form demands that licensees give police a mass of detail, including the names, aliases, private addresses and phone numbers of all musicians and other performers appearing at their venue, and the ethnic background of the likely audience. Failure to comply could mean the loss of a licence or even a fine and imprisonment.

The police say they need the information demanded on Form 696, which runs to eight pages, so they can pinpoint which acts and venues attract troublemakers, and make sure venues are safe. But Feargal Sharkey, who rose to fame during the punk era as the vocalist on the single “Teenage Kicks” by the Undertones, is so angry about what he sees as a threat to live music that he is consulting lawyers about how to stop it.

I am truly stunned and sickened by this development. That the government feel entitled to such control over live music is worrying enough, but to specify ethnic background as a cause for concern is massively offensive. It is institutionalised racism, plain and simple.

You attend concerts at your own risk. It is the police’s responsibility to protect the public, but not at the cost of our civil liberty. Preventative measures should not be in the form of constrictive and racist laws, but in the upbringing of a nation of people wise enough not to perpetuate unnecessary violence. Pushing thugs out of music venues simply relocates violence, like leaving the roots of weeds in the soil. Not only that, but it will lead to the disenfranchisement of decent, innocent people who merely want to hear, play or promote live music.

One of the few outlets of uncompromised creative expression is in serious risk.

One Response to “Form 696”

  1. I just looked up this form after reading your post Ally, after completely agreeing with your point regarding institutional racism. Onr thing stuck out to me; “Music style to be played / performed (e.g. Bashment, R’n’B, Garage)”. Now, if that’s not comnfirmation I don’t know what is…”What do you mean folk audiences aren’t black!? I’ll scratch that one off the form then.”

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