Firstly yes it has been a long time since anyone put brain power into the blog but there is a good reason. I am sure Chasmal will be filling us with his wit at some point but basically the original issue this blog was created to combat has disappeared, I am sure there will be something else to fight and we are still keeping our eyes on councils to make sure the crazies don't get away with changing things without someone noticing. Certainly been watching consultations and hopefully I will get information that I can write about in the near future.
However right now I want to raise issues with the language many councils use in their formal documentation about clubs, the policies and guidelines that to be honest a lot of people would TL:DR (too long didn't read) and guessing most people would read the executive summary and the conclusion which leads to a very misleading interpretation for people would just glance at the documents rather than check each and every point. So what are the things that are bugging me so badly that it could actually inspire me to write something? It comes down to the wording in the definition of SEV which is in every single policy document councils produce.
Every single policy document that I have read (which covers nearly all of England and Wales) mentions Live Sex Shows. Now I have been going to venues for the best part of 30 years and in that time I have to say I have not seen anything that could be classified as such for the last 20 years. Even back then it was rare to see anything naughty at any venue apart from odd Sundays. Now I am sure that stag events would be much more along those lines but when we are talking about licensed venues I don't see how it is possible to have something you could describe as a live sex show and maintain the council policies. In the guidelines for clubs it clearly states in every policy document dancers should in no way allow any penetration or stimulation of the dancer's genitalia. And yes the language the council uses clearly forbids any form of sex show so why would they put it in the description of SEVs?
So I am sure everyone can guess exactly the other issue I have with the policy documents. Yes every single policy document mentions Lap Dancing... and every single policy guideline for dancers forbids contact between customer and dancer. Now unless there is a new definition of lap dancing that I haven't heard then it has been 14 years or so since any form of private dance could be classified as a lap dance. So we have two very strong and totally inaccurate descriptions of SEVs that every reader of policy would see at the outset, but it takes someone who is willing to read pages of councilese to realise that, in fact, the description in no way reflects what happens at clubs.
Now as to why that particular wording is used I am not sure but I do feel that it does automatically creates a belief about what happens in clubs that is in fact a fantasy. Yet it is a fantasy the councils seem to want perpetuate, perhaps to cover anything they miss but in my mind they use the wording to create a negative view of the clubs in a deliberate way. Now it may just be one or two councils that used the wording and it has been copied but I struggle to see how any councillor can approve a policy that is NOT a reflection of the reality of the club. In the future it will be a point I raise about any license or policy that a council produces which does not reflect the reality. If you are going to put the word lap dancing in a policy document and then ban it the council needs to make it clear at the outset as those people who fight against the clubs have images in their heads that do not relate to reality. And yes they have probably never been in a club so they truly have no idea of what happens.
Now I don't answer as fast as I use to but if you have anything you want investigated obviously you can post it here or you can e-mail me. There will be no writing without something we feel is necesssary to at least discuss.
Sunday, April 2, 2017
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
|Yes it's true.|
It was the 6th January 2012 that I published the first post on this blog and we see that 5 years and 5 days later that ObjectNow Ltd has been dissolved. I don't want to post a rambling retrospective, but there is one thing that I do wish to highlight. The first posting attracted a first comment, which you can see below.
I never found out who who wrote the above comment, but it defines why I started this blog.
For a while, Object had a free rein and were never challenged, but then people started to question their objectives and fight back. The first serious resistance they encountered was the from the dancers of Shoreditch who protested outside Hackney Town Hall when the Council proposed a 'Nil Policy' which would have lead to the closure of 5 clubs. As we know this was Objects first failure. It should be noted that they failed to get a 'Nil Policy' in Tower Hamlets as well. In fact the word 'Failure' and 'Object' became almost synonymous. Actually, that's an unfair comment because there was one area where Object were very effective - fundraising.
Looking back, it is hard to work put exactly how much funding they received but it was almost certainly a low to middling 6 figure sum. The Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust were big supporters. Do you remember the £50k Object were granted for some kind of 'exit programme' for dancers? I don't think there were any takers and I always wondered what happened to the money... There was however one donation they received that was never repeated and for the first time I can reveal that I might have had something to do with it...
About 4 years ago I received an email from someone who was interested to learn more about the Object campaign because they felt it was unfair and basically very wrong. I agreed to a telephone conversation and in the interim, tried to learn more about who this person was. I was delighted to discover that her father was a trustee in a charity that made a donation to Object. So a few days later, we spoke on the telephone and I can say that this person was horrified about what Object were getting up to.
"Where do they get their money from"? She asked.
"Well, they got £**,*** from your father". I replied.
"Sorry?" She said after a brief silence.
I told her about the donation that had been made, what is was for and how much and....
"I need to look into this". She said.
I never heard from her again and I am fairly sure that Object never heard from that foundation again either.
Any other stories I didn't mention before? None that I can tell you without asking for trouble. For example I certainly cannot tell you about the now senior member of the ****** Party that happily accepted a ******** ******** from a club owner only to try their best a few years later to get the the very same club closed. I cannot say who the person in question is, but they like ******* ***** and was described to me as having '**** ****-**** ****'.
We were very respectful to Object and its members. We could easily have blogged about the Object member that **** her ********** in the **** ***** over her late ******* ****. It was in the ***** **** and I noted that she has a very nice ***** that cost a lot of money and was expecting a lot more in return if her **** had been ******. But sadly it *****.
What ever happened to Rania Khan? I was glad to have stitched her up to Andrew Gilligan.
With all of that money, you would think Object would have been more successful. This blog however was successful and we take partial credit for fighting Object to a standstill because we believe in what we are doing. It was never about the money, although a couple of club owners did make donations in recognition for what we did and they were gratefully received. Not that I got a lot but I did have very nice night out in Leeds as I recall.
So with Object gone, who else is out there? Well Sasha Rakoff tried a reinvention under the name 'NotBuyingIt' and if I recall correctly even pulled in just over £45K from Joseph Rowntree for what amounts to a hastily laid out blog with a few links. The problem for 'NotBuyingIt' is that no one is, so I don't think we need worry about it for the time being.
A successful future for the club scene is now really dependent on the way the clubs are run. It's the same for any business, professional and courteous staff, nice premises and strict adherence to licensing conditions will mean clubs will remain open and viable businesses.
TonyN and I will continue to run this blog, something will come up that merits our attention at some point, but I want the blog to be an archive, a memory of what we all fought for and who we fought against.
I really haven't got much more to say apart from thank you for visiting (I note that as of today we are at 199,256 page views so I guess before the month is out we will hit 200,000) and I wish you the very best for 2017.