Tuesday, November 04, 2003
Dancing Is Dangerous
We Regret To Inform You That
So runs the latest Diktat, which I'm seeing displayed more and more prominently in many venues on and around London's Old Compton Street, and issued by Westminster Council, the authority regulating most of central London's pubs and bars.
The deal is that, if you're a venue without a public entertainment licence, in what's supposedly one of the hippest and most happening cities in the world, then you stand the chance of being fined, or your business closed down, should you allow more than two of your punters to dance, or even to sway rhythmically, to whatever's currently being piped through the PA.
Actually, you don't even need the music, as the Council's definition of "dancing" is: "The rhythmic moving of the legs, arms and body usually changing positions within the floor space available and whether or not accompanied by musical support." So now you know.
(Just under a year ago, the local Pitcher and Piano was fined several grand for allowing the same "rhythmic moving" on its premises. In that particular instance, I would have nuked the entire place along with every last one of its customers, but that's a grievance for another blog.)
Interestingly enough, much of this initiative is supported by the Soho Society, an organisation dedicated to promoting the area, and whose meetings I've occasionally been invited to as an interested party. It's largely made up of self-important prigs who, once they've earned enough to live in one of the capital's priciest and most vibrant 24/7 areas, spend the rest of their time moaning about the very vibrancy which made their properties so valuable and desirable in the first place.
However, I'm not too worried, if only because Soho is also Queer Central. And it is a fact well-documented that, should two persons of a certain persuasion find themselves together in the same room, with a jukebox overloaded with Kylie and Madge, then there shall be much waving of arms, shaking of legs, and wiggling of buttocks whether Westminster Council likes it or not.
There are some behavioural patterns which not even Lily Law can change, my dears.