In a recently introduced piece of bureaucracy, the Metropolitan police have started requiring live event producers across London to fill in the innocuous sounding "Form 696".Indeed it will, Sunny. And why are the police declaring war on music? Watched ‘Footloose’ too many times?
Here's the catch: it requires four pages of information from event organisers 14 days before it takes place. If you need to make last-minute changes – tough luck, the event can't go ahead. The Met police not only want to know the type of music to be played, but also names, aliases, phone numbers and addresses of performers. It will not only make putting on live bands very difficult for small venues, but also spell the end of impromptu open mic sessions.
Form 696 explicitly singles out musical styles such as R&B, bashment, garage or styles including MCs/DJs as examples of genres that have to be stated if put on. It also required event producers to state the likely racial profile of people attending. When accusations of racial profiling were inevitably raised by the music industry, the Met changed the wording to ask who it was targeted at.Let me guess – not ‘ABBA’ tribute bands, or choral recitals...
No, it was quite clearly originally aimed at the type of venues where the bouncers ask if you have weapons when you go in. If you reply in the negative, they rummage in their pockets, produce a knife and say ‘There you go, bra...’.
But as always, you can’t just target these known trouble spots and known groups – it has to be ‘racially blind’:
As Martin Rawlings, director of the Pub and Beer Association, rightly told a newspaper a couple of months ago:As these things always do.
"I know of licensees faced with this saying they are just not going to put live music on. Form 696 is being used only in London so far, but there are similar things going on around the country, where the police are asking publicans to sign various protocols. It has gone too far, frankly."
And given that Sunny Hundal is a race grievance monger par extraordinaire, it’s a bit much for him to start screaming and jumping up and down now, isn’t it...?