Monday, 24 August 2009

I'm in Trouble!

Someone recently told me about this. A couple of buskers 'narrowly escaped jail' for busking the same song, 'Wonderwall' by Oasis over and over again in a not very appealing manner. Not only does this story highlight the growing police state mentality regarding the issuing of Asbos, but it has huge implications for buskers all round. I hope this isn't the start of a crackdown on buskers in the same way most cities and towns have had a crackdown on beggars. I'm going to have to diversify, since I usually play 'There is A Light That Never Goes Out' and 'Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now'...repeatedly.

'Wonderwall' is, by the way, one of the most requested songs by pissed up lads on a Friday or Saturday night in the town centre. If you play it, the men gather in a huddle with their arms around each other and sing this into the streetlit night sky at a loud volume. Then, afterwards, they each usually each give you a quid because they are feeling generous and you've made their night, even if they perhaps don't always remember it in the morning. By the way, if you listen to this song very carefully, there is a hidden message contained in the lyrics...Oasis are rubbish. Also, if you play the song on vinyl backwards, quite mysteriously and inexplicably...the song sounds better.

Story courtesy of Yahoo Music
We've all surely heard "Wonderwall" by Oasis enough times to realise that Noel Gallagher has never topped it but it might be good if he did. But how many of us can actually say they break down in tears at the sound of those oh so familiar opening chords? Matt Williams does and it's not because the track reminds him of an ex girlfriend. All he can think about is a pair of "lawless" buskers who played it constantly and made his life hell.

James Ryan and Andrew Stevens have been handed Asbos by District Judge Qureshi at Birmingham Magistrates Court and banned from entering parts of Moseley and playing musical instruments in public in the area. Narrowly escaping jail, they were also banned from begging anywhere in England and Wales. The pair only knew 'Wonderwall' and George Michael's 'Faith' and that's all they played from early evening into the small hours. However, their act became notorious for noise and over-aggressive money demands, prompting countless fights, intimidating and infuriating local residents.

"I break down every time I hear ‘Wonderwall' or the intro to ‘Faith'", explained Williams, who called police 60 times to complain after being abused by Ryan and Stevens. "They would go on until four, five or six in the morning. It was horrendous. It completely affected my life. I couldn't sleep but it had a far deeper effect where all of a sudden your home isn't a place where you could feel comfortable, safe or secure", he said. After the hearing, Ryan insisted: "The whole thing's about playing a guitar, it's a joke. Most people loved it". Local David Glover agreed, saying: "An Asbo is harsh, they should have to learn new songs." Well, two years is surely enough time to nail 'Shakermaker'.

1 comment:

Jane said...


I'm sorry this is off topic, but I want to invite you to something in London (food rather than music)towards the end of October. I'll message you on Facebook, where I believe we are friends. If that doesn't reach you, I'll find another way. You can always email me at

God bless,
Jane (Oasis in French Catholicism)

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