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More woe for live venues as restrictions are to remain: Music Venue Trust aghast at the government's decision

The Music Venue Trust's Mark Dayvd has reacted scathingly to yesterday's announcement by the government delaying the further loosening of restrictions on social distancing in England by a month. ''The announcement of a delay to the reopening at …

Published: 15 Jun 2021. Updated: 38 days.

The Music Venue Trust's Mark Dayvd has reacted scathingly to yesterday's announcement by the government delaying the further loosening of restrictions on social distancing in England by a month.

''The announcement of a delay to the reopening at full capacity of grassroots music venues is obviously a crippling blow to the sector,'' he says. ''Over 4000 shows will be cancelled, losing tens of thousands of people, many of them unable to earn for over 15 months, the chance to get back to work. Huge amounts of work will need to go into rescheduling, cancellations, rebooking, refunds and managing customers, staff and artists. The delay will cost the sector £36 million, adding to the mounting pile of debt which this crisis has created.''

''We note that live music events were a unique focus of the government funded and led Events Research Programme. The evidence from the test events that took place during it have not been released. The government should immediately release that data and demonstrate how these test events indicated that live music is a unique contributing factor to the spread of the virus which cannot be managed in any other way than to effectively ban it. If, as we believe, the data does not provide that causality link, the government must explain on what basis it is making decisions on restrictions of live music.

''The continued restrictions to culture are a serious blow to the grassroots music venue sector, with potential damage to hundreds of businesses, thousands of staff and tens of thousands of workers. The government should immediately recognise the risk of serious harm being done to people's lives, business, jobs and livelihoods and respond with swift, decisive action. The clock is ticking. Don't fail now.''

Grassroots venue Servant Jazz Quarters in east London, top. Photo: marlbank

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Nik Bärtsch, Listening: Music Movement Mind (Lars Müller Publishers)

Based on Nik Bärtsch and his wife Andrea Pfisterer-Bärtsch's background as performers in live music and as aikido practitioners Listening: Music Movement Mind is on one level an oddity. On another it is incredibly wise. A sprawling philosophical …

Published: 15 Jun 2021. Updated: 38 days.

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Based on Nik Bärtsch and his wife Andrea Pfisterer-Bärtsch's background as performers in live music and as aikido practitioners Listening: Music Movement Mind is on one level an oddity. On another it is incredibly wise.

A sprawling philosophical trawl of sorts it provides the best insights yet into Bärtsch's brilliant mind and unique zen funk and ritual music ideas. While fascinated by his thinking I nearly gave up a few times when the text starting reeling off quote after quote from wise thinkers ancient to modern and almost becomes a kind of TED talk for get-up-and-goers. But then I was extremely glad that I didn't because takeaways include what Bärtsch, whose solo piano album Entendre is for me the best album of all that ECM have released this year, thinks about the meaning of the band. ''A band should mature into an integral organism – then it is alive, like an animal, a biotope, an urban space. It creates overtone blossoms, ghost notes, spectral sounds, flights of perspective.'' How beautifully put and humane. The skill of the book is also in its tone of voice. Bärtsch manages to navigate confident pivots between waxing lyrical, offering self-help, analysis of his own musical ideas, tales of his life in Switzerland and living in Japan along with much else. It is not a beginning-middle-and-end sort of book by a long chalk.

The book also comes equipped with a wonderful bibliography that is almost worth getting Listening: Music Movement Mind for alone: hint Frans de Waal crops up quite a lot. Best of all Bärtsch does not put up a wall that the reader has to scale perilously to gain admission eventually to his dojo of erudition. Instead he encourages us like a coach to erase all barriers especially in the way we may listen and think about music and roam with him. Bärtsch also writes: ''When I was twenty-six, I sold all my CDs and LPs to make room in my apartment and in my head – and also because I needed money. I only kept then twenty personally relevant albums.'' This list of lists, that makes most playlists seem very inadequate, is worth memorising and above all investigating further. It includes work by James Brown, Brian Eno and David Byrne, Morton Feldman, Heiner Goebbels, Herbie Hancock, Meshell Ndegeocello, Photek, Prince and Lennie Tristano. SG