Okay, maybe not die.
But if the council in Oxford gets their way, buskers will have to “smile, enjoy themselves and entertain others at all times” or face a 1000 pound fine.
That’s right. We’re talking Government Sanctioned enjoyment. Imagine a council ad spreading the message playing Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile though your heart is aching, smile even though it’s breaking…” and you’ve got the idea.
Putting aside for a moment the whether-this-is-right-or-wrong, let’s think about HOW the hell do they plan to enforce this?
Officer: Hey you! Yes, you, the clown with the balloons! Smile, damn you!
Busker: But I am smiling.
Officer: No you’re not!
Busker: See? It’s face paint.
Officer: Oh. Ok. Carry on.
Officer: Hey you! Yes, you with the music! Enjoy yourself! I can’t see you smiling!
Busker: But I AM enjoying myself! It’s just my mouth is occupied with the tuba!
Officer: That’s no excuse!
Busker: Have YOU tried smiling with a mouth full of brass?
Officer: I refuse to answer that. Okay. Carry on.
Officer: Hey you! Yes, you with the accordion! I find your interpretation and overall arrangement of that song a little on the melancholy side, and it is too repetitive; it’s too drab and uninspired. You’re not entertaining enough.
Busker: But entertainment is a subjective experience dependent on the dynamic relationship between the performer and the audience.
Officer: Oh. Okay. Carry on.
Officer: Hey you! Yes you with the marionettes! Be entertaining or I’ll cop you with a ticket!
Busker: I’m trying but my wife’s in hospital, we’re struggling and I’m just trying to make a little money to pay for her medicine.
Officer: Aha! So you admit it! A THOUSAND POUND FINE FOR YOU!
Officer: Just pay the damn fine, okay?
As dicussed on ABC Local Radio 612’s panel “Is This Controversial” June 2, 2015.