“None to the Bar”


Rock is Dead. Long Live Rock !!!

It seems (even to me!) that often all I do is gripe and carp against what is going on the World.

But this is not an apology. The more I see of our country’s decisions the more my jaw drops.

There is now legislation afoot which will effectively force young musicians into a position of having nowhere to play, no pubs and informal clubs to cut their teeth, nowhere to start. WHAT???!

Now I come from a positon of total ignorance here (so thank you for reminding me Mr. Jonathan Planner) . Will somebody please tell me what on Earth prompted the government to try to ban small groups of musicians playing in pubs? What is the agenda here? For God’s sake, we have a Prime Minister who plays guitar – where did HE manage to play when he was a kid? What is the matter with us – is the Government in cahoots with the Pop Idol people, the miming boy band brigade, the Simon Cowell school of “Death to Live Music”???

I thought the plot of We Will Rock You was a bit far-fetched when Ben first showed it to us – just an amusing exaggeration. But now every day, every time I’m in the theatre, it becomes more obvious that the prophecy of WWRY is already almost fulfilled. Live Music is in danger of being strangled to death. Right now.

Here’s a funny story, which I don’t think has been told yet. For Christmas 2002, just a couple of months ago it was planned by Top of the Pops (UK) to do a celebration of the big splashes of the year. They asked if we would take in the entire cast of We Will Rock You from the Dominion Theatre, and perform the version of Bohemian Rhapsody that we played at the Queen’s Jubilee – totally live. We got quite excited, even put a couple of planned events aside so we could do this. (It would be pre-recorded before Christmas, as these things are…)

Then, a week or so before the date of filming we got a message: “We’re terribly sorry, but we feel obliged to show BOTH the finalists from the current Pop Idol TV programme – the boy-band and the girl-band, because they’re going to be contenders for the Christmas Number One. There’s no room for Bohemian Rhapsody now! So the Live Bo Rap never happened. In that spooky moment it all came true !!!! That’s what we got for Christmas, folks – mime-shows, and, if the stories are true, some “pop” artists even miming to someone else’s vocals….

For shame …

So now we’re going to let our government stop kids from playing in pubs, eh?

Well, it’s enough to make me want to be a politician…

It may not be quite as ‘up there’ in importance as the necessity for banning cancer-producing smoke in restaurants and public places, or the need to protect children and animals from abuse, but it ain’t far behind.

Oh, and of course one other small thing – the insane prospect of the UK contemplating a path which makes it an international War Criminal ? That’s what we will be if we bomb Iraq without the backing of the UN.

“For shame” doesn’t even begin to cover it ….”