The Live Music Forum

Hamish Birchall Bulletin


Tuesday 23rd September 2008 - Licensing Act creates silent circus comedy



From today's Times online, September 23, 2008:

'Circus fans face silent comedy after ban on clowns trumpets' by Hannah Strange

'The grand finale of Zippo's Circus fell strangely flat before its Birmingham audience. Three Spanish clowns, Nicol, Michael and Pappa, had been due to introduce themselves with a blast of trumpets. However, this had to be cut from the act.

'Also gone was the moment, midway through the routine, when Nicol sounds three notes on a tuba, which then explodes, the bell landing on another clown's head while Nicol blows a puff of smoke from his rear.

'And instead of the recorded flamenco track that usually accompanies their performance, there was silence.

'These last-minute alterations were insisted upon by an official from the licensing department of Birmingham City Council. Half an hour before the show was due to start, the officer was insisting that the show could not go on if the clowns sounded their trumpets, or blew the exploding horn. It would need to be classified as a live music performance and the Big Top would require a licence. ....'

Read the rest of this article here:

Other online press coverage:

Daily Telegraph online: faulty link -PL

Birmingham News:

Birmingham Post:


Hamish Birchall