The owner of a Croydon nightclub allegedly banned by police from playing Jamaican music has claimed other venues have been given similar orders but were “too scared” to speak out.
Roy Seda, owner of Dice Bar, said he felt “victimised” and “bullied” by officers who told him his High Street venue played “what this borough finds unacceptable forms of music”.Awwww, poor baby! But how nice the beleaguered Met have found the resources to institute a Music Appreciation Squad!
Mr Seda, who opened Dice Bar with his wife Farrah in 2012, said licensing officers had pressured him to stop playing bashment because it “attracts a certain type of person” .
He said: “What they like is commercial music - chart pop - and I think that type of music attracts a certain type of person and I think that is what they want in Croydon.”Who wouldn’t? I don’t remember the Pet Shop Boys sparking any riots.
Speaking today for the first time today since the row broke out, the borough commander of Croydon police denied the force was guilty of racial profiling but admitted some venues had been told not to hold “specific events”.
Chief Superintendent Andy Tarrant claimed Mr Seda had volunteered to stop playing bashment music, adding: “The onus has always been on Roy to come up with ideas about how he might reduce the incidents of antisocial behaviour, disorder and crime associated with his premises.
“It wasn't just music, this was one of a series of measures that he implemented to address the issues associated with his premises.
“There were a number of different measures he implemented, for example around his dress code and door policy.”‘No shirt, no shoes, no service’..?
But Mr Seda rubbished the suggestion he had volunteered to stop playing Jamaican music.
“When your back is against the wall and they are telling you, ‘change something or we have the power to close you down,’ you sell your soul basically.
“There is no benefit to us, we lose business, we lose customers, we have to deal with stress explaining to people why we are not playing certain music, so it is not in our interest to ban any type of music
“They will argue that there have been minor incidents at those venues and that’s why they have been told not to play that music, but what about the venues that don’t play bashment but play 80s or 90s pop music. They have incidents just the same but they aren’t told, ‘Don’t play pop music’.”Now, why would telling your customers that you aren’t playing a particular type of music cause the establishment and ‘stress’?
Could it be the police are actually right, and these aren’t crowds of musical appreciation society members at all?
Chief Supt Tarrant said: “We are absolutely committed to trying to help the licensees because we don't want people coming to Croydon and feeling like it’s a place they don't want to visit or work in, but we have to make sure that we also enforce the law and where we have disorder and serious incidents taking place then we have to deal with that.”
He said he advocated dress codes at venues because he believed “formally dressed” people were less likely to “get in a fight” .
The borough commander added: “We know that if people aren't properly dressed there is this issue about them potentially contributing to anti-social behaviour.”That works so well at weddings. And funerals. And big racecourse meetings.
Which, again, merely makes me think that it’s not the clothes, not the music, not the buildings – it’s always, always down to the people…
Why can’t we just be honest about this?