ASBO for buskers who only knew two songs
Thursday 20 August 2009
A busking duo who tormented a Birmingham village by continuously playing just two songs have been given an ASBO banning them from performing in the area.
Guitarist James Ryan and dustbin lid-player Andrew Stevens would regularly perform late night renditions of the only songs they knew - Wonderwall by Oasis and George Michael’s Faith – in Moseley village, Birmingham.
However, the plug has been pulled on their impromptu gigs after frustrated locals said the performances turned Moseley into a ‘nightmare of loud noise and fighting’.
The complaints led to Ryan, 40, and Stevens, 39 - both of no fixed address - being banned from entering parts of Moseley and playing musical instruments in public in the area. The pair were also banned from begging anywhere in England and Wales.
They were warned they faced jail if they breached the two-year anti-social behaviour orders handed down yesterday by District Judge Qureshi at Birmingham Magistrates Court.
After the hearing, Ryan said: “The whole thing’s about playing a guitar, it’s a joke. Most people loved it.”
Birmingham City Council said the pair stood near taxi ranks, cash points and various pubs in Moseley singing and begging, often playing from early evening into the early hours. Revellers often joined in with them at pub closing time.
One resident was forced to call police 60 times after attempts to talk to the pair was met with “abuse and threats”.
Matt Williams, 43, who has since moved out of the area, said: “I break down every time I hear Wonderwall or the intro to Faith. It was just one after the other, it was awful.
“It was everything from the noise of them busking on the streets, to begging and causing fights, to the general lawlessness it encouraged while they were there. 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. I didn’t feel I had anywhere that was my sanctuary.”
Another victim, aged 40, added: “If you popped out to go to the shops, you would get hassled on the way out and hassled on the way back.”
Residents said that after interim banning orders against the pair were granted earlier this year, the atmosphere around Moseley Village had dramatically improved.
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