Camden burlesque ban censors have never seen show

THE head of the committee responsible for Camden's burlesque ban admits he has never seen a burlesque performance. Camden's licensing committee chairman Cllr Don Williams and his colleagues have never seen a show despite cancelling performances to protec

THE head of the committee responsible for Camden's burlesque ban admits he has never seen a burlesque performance.

Camden's licensing committee chairman Cllr Don Williams and his colleagues have never seen a show despite cancelling performances to "protect the public".

He said: "I have never seen burlesque and we haven't visited any shows as councillors. We do site visits to a lot of late-night venues to check their licensing conditions and for problems. But I've never come across burlesque."

Despite the revelation, he said Camden couldn't let burlesque go ahead unhindered. "What this has actually shown, and I want to praise officers for this, is how good our enforcement policy is because we stopped it," he said. "The council can't turn a blind eye - we have to protect the public especially children from harm."


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The council's new hard-line policy was first revealed in the Ham&High a fortnight ago. But burlesque troops claim the shows are far from the lap dancing and topless shows the council claims they are like. One of the first acts to face the ban were the Knickerbocker Glories, who have no nudity in performances. Lead singer Cherry Bomb, aka Kristy Macleod, said: "I challenge any member of Camden Council to come to a Knickerbocker Glories show, or any burlesque show for that matter, and come away still confident that these restrictions need to be in place."

Most venues, until recently, presumed burlesque was permitted because it doesn't exist as a separate category in law and they faced no opposition from the council.

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But licensing chiefs have now started enforcing rules claiming a special waiver was needed. Venues now need to make an application before each burlesque performance - two to three months in advance.

The council is still considering whether to give a licence to Koko in Camden Town for a performance by showgirl Immodesty Blaize due to take place on Monday May 11.

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