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Buskaction stands for the promotion of the ART of busking.

There is not generally a musical sound you could specifically identify with busking.

Busking is a type of performance not a musical sound.

Bongo Mike and Extremely Frank Jeremy gave busking an attitude, not a specific sound.

Busking does not have a playlist like a radio station does.

It presents a more creative way of relating sound to environment, without imposing a central scheme on performers.

A BUSKER finds a place where he or she is genuinely popular with the public,
by being free enough to play where he/she wants
- in order to find the correct performance place.

Buskers have been traditionally hunted and persecuted,
and also brutal repression has been used to insensitively force licensing schemes on many performers.

A drowning man will grasp at straws,
and continual prosecutions can force anybody
to accept almost anything.

Of course some performers feel unsafe in the criminalised atmosphere.

So arguably some sort of permit could be issued
for someone who has already found a successful performance place.

This could be used to protect the performer from vindictive workers
or members of the public
who would like to harass him or her.

Such a permit is quite different
from a licensing scheme with performance spots,
where bureaucrats decide on the placing of these spots,
and pomp around informing artists where to play
and to whom they can speak.

When,in 1997, Bongo Mike and Extremely Frank got a licence to perform their Situation Art on the trains of "North Rhine Westphalia" in Germany,
it was based on their own performance they had already carried out for years, and had found as part of their jouney across Europe performing.

Decriminalisation should bring the artist in public places closer to the light, rather than adding an extra layer of bureaucracy between the artist and the light.

Buskaction fights for Situation Art - musical performances in public places and on moving vehicles world wide.

London is one example.

Of the musicians who perform there, some call themselves BUSKERS, and others call themselves SITUATION ARTISTS. For years they carried on performing, despite prosecutions, violence from the authorities, fines, and imprisonments for non-payment of fines. The maximum fine for each offence on public transport systems in London is still 200 pounds sterling, and in the case of some players prosecutions remain frequent. Prosecutions for performing in the street frequently still involve actual arrests.

Only, since the arrival of licensing schemes, a mist has been drawn over things which obscures the real situation - that the problems remain the same. (See After the licensing schemes)

Bongo Mike and Extremely Frank Jeremy made a video of their protest song: "DON'T KNOW WHY" set to an unusual recording of it.

Buskaction itself began as a vehicle to launch that video but later expanded into its wider political and artistic aims.

BM and EFJ used to perform the protest song on their acoustic instruments. But unusually a version was arranged and recorded using keyboards - and far away from London... in the Balkans.

Filmed mainly in South London, and edited at Connections Communications in Hammersmith, London in 1996,
The video's first showing was in Macedonia in 1996;
the video's first showings in the west were on BBC and ITV in 1998, and on UK MTV and Italian MTV some time later.

THE VIDEO IS CURRENTLY ON YOUTUBE


.

Bongo Mike and Extremely Frank Jeremy appear in the video, along with Victoria "The Comb Lady", as well as other members of the London Public Entertainers Collective (LPEC).

LPEC were involved in a campaign of decriminalisation of busking, solely on London Underground. Bongo and Extremely were involved much more with the general issue of promoting public place performance as art. Both LPEC and BM & EFJ worked separately representing performers in court, as well as actively campaigning against the censorship of public place performance.

LPEC had a lot of publicity in the mid-90's - the press called them the buskers union. BM and EFJ had no connection with it because at that time they were recording music in eastern europe which they still do. One of the LPEC members invited them along to a meeting in 1996 and they demanded that LPEC should listen to the views of train players as well - at the very first meeting they went to, they warned them that the underground would one day start a licensing scheme and that that was the main danger players should all address themselves to.

In their struggles, BM and EFJ tried to expand the consciousness of busking, and called it situation art.

So the video interlocks busking and situation art ideas. Franco de Cristofaro and Bernard Pierre, members of LPEC who appear in the video, had only just come out of prison for non-payment of their fines for busking when the video was made, and Bernard Pierre went back in prison again shortly afterwards.

Sadly, through lack of support and division in its ranks, LPEC was disbanded. But it had conducted many campaigns in its day.

BONGO MIKE and EXTREMELY FRANK spent many years in exile and developed much of their ideas as exiled buskers and later Situation Artists.

But there was never any conscious understanding, or support, from any of the officials of any country where they worked.

A protest single - containing that recording of the song "Don't Know Why?", as well as a busker version plus two other recordings - is available on Newspaper Records, which is now affiliated to Buskaction.

just pounding round public places and grafting up money is not what buskaction is about,
buskaction supports the people who perform art in public places,
buskaction supports their right to live from this,
buskaction is a cultural website for all people who perform art in public places.

In the section ethnic cleansing of street art the word "ethnic" refers to buskers and situation artists as a distinct type of human being with a distinct culture, and not specifically to their racial origin.

Does the West protect the values of freedom of expression with regard to this culture?

In the case of musicians who perform in public places in London and other cities in Europe, the answer is frequently 'no'.

Mike and Jeremy have been performing protest songs about the issue for many years, as well as starting many court cases. The European Court of Human Rights listened to them three times, but the judges didn't like the music. But they took a lot of other cases, and they won one famous case when they made the law clear for tube musicians to not be imprisoned by the police, providing they gave their right name and address and paid their fines,after they sued two Transport policemen for interrupting their performance on a train And in I997 they became the first situation artists in history to get a licence to perform on trains, in Dusseldorf Germany.

CONTACT BUSKACTION via email newspap@hotmail.com

BBC RADIO I CAME TO THE LAUNCH OF BUSKACTION ON MARCH 4th 1997 AT THE BACKSPACE CYBER LOUNGE IN CLINK STREET LONDON. LISTEN