Sunday, September 22, 2013

Big Round Up (get a coffee)

Well this is a round up of all the stuff flying round with licenses and the moralists trying to close clubs. There is quite a bit to cover as so much is going on and it is hard to keep track of all the battles being fought.

Okay firstly I want to pick up on TENs or Temporary Event Notifications as they are formally known. These are used any clubs and pubs to put on things that are outside their current license and has included dancing. Now it has come to the attention of a politician and she wants to stop TENs being used to provide adult events. Venues can use 11 TENs over the course of a year and there are rules governing them. So of course venues testing the waters to see if dancing would work for them is now out. However I wonder if the politician has realised that TENs is how male strip troupes perform at different clubs. Will places that have male dancers need to get SEVs? I can see a lot of angry Hen Parties if the male dancer events are harder to find. And there is also a chance this will impact on the LGBT clubs if they have performances with nakedness in. The implications of taken TENs away from clubs to try striptease or have fairly regular events is interesting to say the least.

So with the TENs issue in mind I want to jump over to Chester where the Platinum Lounge lost its License. Not for crime or infringements of the license but because of the claim the area had become more residential. The club which has been going since 2005 has had no issues with the police and reading articles about the refusal the dancers enjoyed working there. Now I am not a resident but investigating the area seems to have a lot of businesses for a residential area. So this is where the council uses excuses to close a venue because they don't like it. This based on a grand total of 8 objections and a representation from local business lead by Debbie Lomas. Said Debbie Lomas has made sweeping statements even though she has never been inside the club and she was challenged back in 2011 by a dancer to come to the club and talk face to face which of course she hasn't done. The management haven't decided yet on if they will ask for a judicial review but under the circumstances such tiny opposition should not be allowed to dictate as it sets an awful precedent for those councillors who want to be our moral guardians. Management has talked about using TENs to get events all over Chester but if the law changes this could be a very short term plan. So management of Platinum Lounge I would suggest you challenge this, if you do you will be able to continue to trade (Oxford has done this and are awaiting their court case). BEST OF LUCK

So speaking of moral guardians Leeds has popped back up on the Radar, you may remember that we reported that planning permission  had been granted to Black Diamond to expand from 2 to 4 floors. Well the licensing committee has overturned that decision as they have not granted a change to the license citing the policy to reduce the Leeds to 4 clubs. The venue is currently closed and the management has not made a decision on if they should re-open under the current terms. We have suggested this is one that the council will target but this is not the stopping of dancing just the expansion. However it is a suggestion the club maybe a target for the council.

And back to Hounslow who was looking to adopt a Nil Policy, well they have as they had 20 letters of support for the Nil Policy and 9 Against. Nice to see the enthusiasm in the borough peaked which such a massive turnout.... Interesting to note the council does state that the council will listen to applicants on merit although it will have to demonstrate why the council should depart from its policy. And - guess what? - the initial license fee is non -refundable people can read into this what they may as money earning potential one way or another.

Okay some amusement in the middle as Bristol renews the license of Central Chambers after only 9 Objections (where is everyone who attacked the clubs last year?). Best bit though was the attack from a campaigner (7 of 9 maybe?) used some interesting language to describe the head of the licensing committee a “sexist, misogynistic fuckface“, much respect to Bristol_Jane for such an intellectual and well thought out argument.

Next we are off to Tower Hamlets (again). I spent a pleasant evening watching live tweets from Ted Jeory from the council meeting where the Licensing Policy was to be confirmed and although we didn't get tweets that far into the evening it was a debacle. Councillors had signed up to not use language that would insult the physically and mentally disabled so of course that one went by the wayside pretty quick. One councillor was called Susan Boyle, a member of the public tried to ask a question in Bengali and was told no and that a translator would be provided next meeting at council expense but then his friend offered to translate and got involved. They have agreed that livestreams of the council meetings will be available in the future and as a fan of comedy I will be watching.

So to the Nil Policy which as we remember had two consultations. Now the report about the 2011 consultation has just over 4000 responses with 121 duplicates and some discounted because they were not sure they were in the borough. I would love to see what they decided was acceptable or not as their online submission did NOT have mandatory fields which might explain why some people did not put in locations. However the original claim was for over 6000 response so somehow around 2000 responses have disappeared. Not one to accuse people but..... Anyway second consultation was 2.2% for a nil policy and 97.8% against a nil policy so obviously the council decides the public doesn't know what is good for it and makes its own decision. All I will say is the first effort to close a club and this will be bounced in front of the court and the council will have a hell of a lot of explaining to do.

And Twitter has been an amazing tool, yesterday I sat and watch the debate between "feminists" and feminist sex workers who were denied access to the Nottingham Women's Conference. Now I know some people will point out that this blog is about striptease and lap dancing but there are key points here. Firstly that the sex workers have representation on the GMB the same as the dancers so things that affect them should interest us at least. And secondly and more importantly #NWC2013 was to discuss sex work and things like the scandinavian model, which would be fine but the organisers refused to let current sex workers into the conference including the SW Open University. Now to speak about a group of women at a feminist meeting and yet deny them a voice is tactics you will see again and again as the whole premise that feminist book writers and speakers rely on is victimhood. To allow these women to speak and show that they have got a GCSE or two (the comments yesterday included uneducated) and are free thinkers exercising choice would knock their house of cards over. Women like Dr Julia Long whose book drive we covered earlier in the year and here again allowed to speak and promote herself and her book.

So busy that the things I have wanted to work on, being 2012 crime figures and SEVs as a community safety valve, have been put on the back burner. But they will resurface when time and health allow.

TonyN (

Sunday, September 15, 2013

May the Farce Be With You, Tower Hamlets Strike Back

Well I have to say thank you to Brute to pointing me at the report from the Tower Hamlets council on SEVs (here). Now the thing that really matters to me that was brought to my attention is a very small part of the actual report and in any other case it might have just got noted in the next round up. BUT the council has really made me annoyed with this.

The sections that really hit home are 6.6 to 6.9 where the council shows it's two faced nature and its bitterness towards people who coordinate to defend their businesses. The fact is the council made a massive effort to ensure they got the result they want and it backfired.

So the council wanted to ensure it got the result it wanted that they could adopt the powers to regulate SEVs. To try to ensure the council got the power they used the council paper, local and Bengali media and the council's website. They also  contacted Faith Groups, Community Safety, Women's Organisations (not named which though), Networks and Forums, Advocacy Services and even Housing associations. This looks like a damned concentrated effort to make sure the council can say they are operating with the backing of the public remembering the first consultation was more or less split down the middle.

However the council got a very nasty surprise, A total of 4,973 responses (526 online and 4,447 paper returns) were received, with 1,424 forms being returned from the Pleasure Lounge. The responses were as follows:  108 (2.2%) ‘Yes’ responses, in favour of adopting 4,865 (97.8) ‘No’ responses, not in favour of adopting.

Now the council had tried to get a co-ordinated response to back themselves but they go on to decry the clubs who ask customers to fill in forms when the are at the club. Considering the number of clubs that operate I am only surprised that the response was not bigger. Trying to be clever and thinking that the clubs are not following what is going on only to find that the clubs not only are following and responding but also have a pretty active customer base that is more than happy to fill in the forms. When you consider that with the agencies the Tower Hamlets area has around 1,000 dancers working then you only need each dancer to find 5 customers who would fill in forms and this is the result you would get.

So the council got a surprise and is now trying to say that what the clubs did was wrong when all they did was do the same as the council and engage with their stakeholders. Personally this is amusing as it has made the claims in the report seem pedantic and childish and very much a case of wahhhhhhh I didn't get my own way. Next we will probably see the passing of the nil policy with exceptions like Hackney but as Brute pointed out to me just done over a much longer period and with a much greater expense.

A Very Amused TonyN (

Sunday, September 8, 2013

No Time For A Wee Dram?

And soon could be no chance for the clubs in Glasgow. Alex Salmond's Government Plans for next year include a change in the licensing bill. Which will see councils moving more towards the licensing under the England and Wales 2003 act. And this would give the councils the right to set nil limits and would probably see the same fiascos as we have had south of the border with councils with no clubs setting nil policies because it makes them look good.

Trouble is Glasgow has called for the power and based on the way they view the clubs (remember they commissioned Julie Bindel's swiss cheese like report) we could expect a zero limit and the existing clubs facing legal battles. Sandra White has been campaigning for stricter controls and has a belief that clubs are linked to violence. I tweeted her the question which report is she basing that claim on but so far no reply.

So I am now asking that anyone who has contact with the clubs named in the Bindel Report please get them to contact me. I know that you see each other as competition but unless the clubs in Glasgow start kicking off now with the council there is a chance they will be railroaded at a later date. I have tweeted at one club and e-mailed another but there has been a lack of response from the clubs. I am not after money or working for some club, I am a fanboy that wants dancers to have the right to choose how they earn a living. Which means I will fight tooth and nail to support the clubs that are properly managed. I would quite happily help run out of town clubs that aren't.

Anyway point being is the Bindel report is under a section marked prostitution (here) which implies the council believe you are running prostitutes out of your clubs. Not sure if this how you want to market your clubs but unless you start to redress the balance the chances are you are going to find that will haunt you next year. The report also references the Tottenham Court Road Branch of Spearmint Rhino and the Flying Scotsman. With the Scottie expected to drop striptease next year I contacted SPR but have not heard back yet. I also e-mailed Jim Coleman about the report but had no reply as he wrote the Foreward.

So will the clubs roll over and play dead or will we see the battle lines drawn? Not sure but with Lilith dead it seems that all the Glasgow arguments are based on a report which I have questioned and poked. If that is taken out of the frame then the arguments are not based on any claimed empirical evidence but is just made up beliefs.

TonyN (

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Tower Hamlets Back on the Road

Well just been looking at the agenda for the Licensing Committee for the 11th September and reading the PDFs. Makes interesting reading and really seems like a mess waiting to happen (again).

First up is the pdf dealing with all the on line responses, well actually that does not look right. Speaking to groups who previously supported the clubs they had people who filled in the form online and yet item 8.1d barely has any responses and those are not what I have been expecting. Now I would not claim fiddle but I would like to see the verified details of every online submission.

Moving on to the actual policy the council is not adopting the 2003 policy for SEVs but is for everything else. Now not sure how that plays or what the impact on the clubs is given the fact that the council obviously did not get a mandate to change the framework to the 2003 policy on SEVs.

Moving on to the draft policy which has Sexual Entertainment as Section 18 on page 26. The council is trying to develop a separate policy based on amendments to the 1982 Act schedule 3. However in the meantime the council are going to use "discretion" around venues taking into account schools, places of worship etc (18.4). This could be a run in to trying to close the venues but we will have to wait and see on the renewals. If the Swan gets its license and they try to close the others it could prove "interesting!"

The actual policy however establishes a nil policy for new venues and allows venues to continue subject to the license fees and regulatory controls. It should be noted that the reason the existing clubs are going to be allowed to trade is that the council has noted article 1 of the First Protocol of  Human Rights.

The statements in the agenda seem contradictory and the policy seems to be a disaster waiting to happen. A nil policy that leaves all the current venues alone so Hackney again but I doubt that this is the end, sooner or later Rahman will try and force a venue closed in my humble opinion.

Finally noted at the end of the agenda as already resolved the council will consult on if it should adopt the policy based around the 1982 Act schedule 3. So lets go round again looks like after so long we are back at the start. All aboard the Tower Hamlets roundabout. So nil policy but another consultation and power in place to close venues. Doesn't seem like anyone is better off.

TonyN (

Monday, September 2, 2013

Welcome to September (a round up)

Well been nice and quiet for a bit and to be very honest I was hoping my two last pieces would have got a response from the author or the councillor who wrote the introduction. Well now I guess we can see the two pieces must be reasonably factually correct or given the history we could have expected legal action. The fact the only challenge was on a tweet as I didn't know one of the more confusing issues with Twitter. And yes I changed the introduction as I will stand by what I write and if someone has facts that prove me wrong I will acknowledge it rather than pretend it never happened.

Okay we are now off to Woolwich where the Royal Standard Strip Pub has had dancing stopped over issues with renewing the license. Seems 3 councillors have been sitting round like schoolboys doing home work and they have all sent in the same(ish) letter with the whole what about the schools issue. It is a pub, last time I checked kids are not allowed in so how would this affect them? Is there plasma screens on the outside with the dancers being live streamed? no! Is there peep holes designed so kids can peek in? No! Does it advertise sweets or toys? No! So why do people think children would be bothered, upset or even know what is going on. Seems the pub has agreed to security to stop the 1,000s' of children beating the doors down. We look forward to seeing what is going to happen there but the renewal application is being done on the 5th so we look forward to seeing the results there.

Now up to Leeds which Chasmal has been keen on watching and Black Diamond (or Tantric Blue) never got planning permission for the expansion. This has been sought and approved, so now we have the issue of the council said I could expand so how does the license committee close the venue unless there are major infractions on the license. I always thought this would be one of the targets to go but now you have to think the licensing committee will have to target other venues. Certainly seems joined up Government has maintained the standards I knew when I was in Local Government.

And it seems there will be another interesting licensing committee meeting on the 5th as Shades is up for renewal. After the dropping of the judicial review it will be interesting to see what the opposition come up with now. We hope that all the patrons are sending in letters of support and that the council realise if the judicial review was dropped that would have been on legal advice. So long as Shades trades within its license I have a suspicion the council would have a hard time in court about closing the place. Wishing the Shades crowd all the best!
Edit Letters of objection or support should be in by 5th September. So post now!

Well I couldn't write this without joining in the MileyGate Debate. Notice that a lot of the feminist commentators had to avoid slut shaming tactics as they decry that as an attack on women so suddenly we get cultural appropriation... which is when white people act black as far as the commentators describe. Now not an expert on this but Elvis was attacked for cultural appropriation in the 50s (plus the hips) so 60 years later we seem to have got no further. Why didn't someone say this back when Vanilla Ice came onto the scene. Seriously I am no fan of her music and really don't care about what she did with Thicke but looking round for excuses to have a go at the girl without slut shaming is amusing (if it wasn't such old hat). So another disney girl sheds her wholesome image, Britney and Christina both of whom have moved on. These women are old enough to make up their own minds and just because it doesn't fit with the view some people have they are still exercising free choice so get a grip people.

TonyN (