I have to blog one piece about this assault on the culture - the culture that I know best - the poetry reading or small gig in the pub, the singers with their guitars playing in the corner, the modest little festival for local talent - the cultural equivalent of the blog. This is DIY culture, as necessary to the comeliness of the nation as the millions of gardeners planting bulbs and putting up hanging baskets who know they will not be entries into the Chelsea Flower Show but who make the streets bright and pleasant.
Here's a good piece on it:-
“Farcical.” That was how a leader column in this morning’s Scotsman described a new law forcing small, free events to apply for expensive entertainment licences.
Shortly afterwards, news broke that Highland Council was planning to charge a community group £153 to have an easter egg hunt. So will children be breaking the law if they roll Easter eggs this year without a licence? Yup, farcical is the word.
What next? A silly season’s worth of similar stories, potentially, if this daft, clumsy piece of legislation - part of the 2010 Criminal Justice and Licensing Act - goes ahead. One strategy being discussed by campaigners against the law (whose numbers are increasing by the day) is to flood councils with licence applications for hundreds of absurd events, such as “putting purple glitter all over the billboard outside the old social security building while my pals watch/take photos/ignore/drink beer”. In Edinburgh a day of artistic April Foolery is being considered for 1 April, the day the law comes into force.
There has been much serious, necessary discussion about the troubling implications of this law. For Joyce McMillan in the Scotsman last week, it is a warning sign that Britain is “drifting towards new forms of an authoritarianism that once seemed in permanent retreat”.
For art historian and critic Neil Mulholland, writing in Bella Caledonia, the law is an assault on human rights that could “undermine the very idea that all Scottish citizens can and should freely participate in the production and consumption of culture”. This is not, in other words, about money - it’s about democracy and civility.
Read the rest - it covers the issues very well.