YOUR man Mark Thomas, the campaigning comic who seemed to be the chief organiser of the protesting People’s Kazoo Orchestra, could not be seen at the Town Hall last night. No sign of Billy Bragg or Bill Bailey, those other celebrity busking demonstrators, either, as councillors agreed Camden’s new licence controls and a ban on amplified music.
But there was one guy in the public gallery who gets a lot of hits – more than two million – on YouTube: Danny Shine. Mr Megaphone, himself. You don’t have to spend too much time in central London before you run into him. You can see him chiding customers of McDonald’s as they go into order Big Macs in King’s Cross, or heckling people for picking up their Evening Standards on the way home. He is sometimes outside supermarkets complaining about buy-in-bulk booze deals. It’s not quite clear whether he would need a licence (people stop and stare outside Camden Town tube) for his own performances, but he clearly thinks the council is being silly.
His sticking it to the man divides opinion: an anti-establishment street hero to some, he annoys the hell out of others – particularly, it appears, Westminster Council, who are trying to prosecute him under some by-law or another.
Perhaps, surprisingly, Danny didn’t shout out during the meeting last night. The silly irony of the meeting was that it was the councillors, shouting and bickering, that made more noise than those in the gallery.
But then, Danny had explained – via his megaphone, naturally – before the meeting that he wanted the policy to be approved, suggesting some civil disobedience after it is implemented would prove how unenforceable it all would be.
“Let’s have some fun with it,” he megaphoned on the Town Hall steps. Some people with kazoos cricketed in approval.