Kazoo lovers across the world were in mourning this week as Camden Council announced that the instrument’s high-pitched and annoying, sorry, playful, pips would be out of bounds on the streets of Camden Town. The council passed new street entertainment policy on Monday that will require buskers to hold a licence to play a wind and percussion instrument. The flute and recorder are exempt from the law; not so the humble kazoo . Most forms of amplified music will be banned (buskers can apply for an exception in some circumstances) and the council wants to restrict performers to playing between 10am and 9pm.
‘I’m pleased that the Council chose to prioritize Camden residents by supporting the policy. I think there’s a misconception that all buskers are harmless characters playing a few songs on an acoustic guitar, but in reality, Camden residents have to deal with extremely loud buskers, often with amplification, who perform outside our homes for ten or eleven hours at a time. Residents should be entitled to the quiet enjoyment of their homes, but with loud busking right outside, it’s impossible to concentrate on anything besides the disruption,’ said Camden Town resident Jessica Kranish, 26.
‘We cannot allow the lives of people who live and work in Camden to be disrupted by noise nuisance,” said Camden Council Cabinet member for Community Safety, Councillor Abdul Hai.
At the end of last month the self-styled Citizen’s Kazoo Orchestra headed by comedians Mark Thomas and Bill Bailey, alongside Billy Bragg, led a kazoo-tootling crowd in front of Camden Town tube in a rousing rendition of the Star War’s Death March to protest the plans.
‘London is a vibrant, exciting and lively place and we want it to stay like that,’ said Thomas, who said he thought the new proposal was a ‘draconian law’ that smacked of ‘social cleansing’. According to Thomas the council shouldn’t introduce a new law, but should set up a forum whereby entertainers, business owners and residents could work out any problems.
‘If the people in Camden who are living this cutting edge life can’t put up with a few people standing in a street singing, “Take you by the hand and let me take you around the streets of Camden,” then it’s musical incorrectness gone mad,’ said Billy Bragg.
Now, where’s my vuvuzela? Rebecca Taylor
For more info see keepstreetslive.com