Police in the genteel tourist city of Bath are investigating after a veteran street performer was filmed verbally attacking a disabled busker.
Classical guitarist Gary Millhouse flew into a rage when the unlicensed singer using an amplifier began drowning out his performance.
Tourists admiring the historic Bath Abbey watched in amazement as Mr Millhouse marched up to the unidentified busker and unleashed a foul-mouthed tirade.
He said: “It’s f****** loud, you turn it down or I’m going to shove that thing right up your a***.
“You’ve been spoiling my performance screaming down that poxy thing. Shut up and listen to me, I’ve had enough of you. Don’t busk here. You do that again, I’m going to f*** you over.
“Shut your f****** mouth. I mean it. If you sing again I’m going to ram that thing down your throat.”
The incident was filmed by a passer-by who subsequently posted a two-minute video on on YouTube.
Within hours thousands of people had taken social media sites Twitter and Facebook to express their anger over the incident.
Mr Millhouse is a highly-acclaimed Spanish guitarist who has busked in Bath for 17 years.
He said the licensed street performers are frequently drowned out by unlicensed buskers with electronic amplifiers and his temper had snapped.
“Myself and the other buskers had asked the man to move more than four times as he was in an area that buskers were not allowed to play in,” he said.
“He took no notice of us and just carried on singing loudly, drowning out all the buskers are who are in licensed pitches trying to earn a living.”
All the performers meet every morning outside Bath Abbey to decide who will perform at each pitch, he explained, but the man does not take part.
Mr Millhouse has now apologised for his actions and invited the rogue busker to join them and take his turn fairly in a licensed spot.
He told BBC Radio Bristol: “I feel so bad. I wanted to go back and apologise but he had gone.
“It’s unlike my character. People who want to busk in Bath are more than welcome to do so.
“Now I am paying the price. It’s taken me 20 years to get this reputation but now it has all gone.
“If he wants to come back to play we will let him and we will help improve his sound.”
Jeremy Broun, from the Bath Buskers website, said: “It is a terrible problem, noise.
“We have sat around the table with police and councillors to resolve the issue. The council actually went back on us when they allowed the use of amplifiers.”
Another busker, John Shepherd, said the incident was very out of character for Mr Millhouse.
He added: “Gary is one of the good guys and has worked really hard to ensure a good relationships between buskers, shopkeepers and the council.”
The YouTube video had been viewed at least 2,000 times before being taken down on the advice of the police on Tuesday.
Officers are investigating the content of the video and also abusive comments left on social media sites.
Mr Broun of Bath Buskers added: “I spent most of yesterday removing obscene or bullying posts. Gary is already paying the price; it was in the heat of the moment.”
Inspector Damian Morley from Avon and Somerset Police said: “We are currently investigating this incident.
“We are also aware of threats that have been made against the alleged offender and we are looking at these as part of our wider investigation.”
There are NO Licensed pitches in Bath, the local authority have some guidelines for buskers but do NOT License them.
The behaviour is simply unacceptable no matter what the reason behind it!.
I would love to know more about who issues the licenses, given that they aren’t gvt-issued. Is there a buskers association that hands them out? What are the requirements? And what are the potential legalities here? If this incident (and the licenses) occurred on private property, that would make more sense. Would appreciate any info, and thank you! 🙂
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With all due respect, the abusive busker is a very poor guitarist, in my opinion. Seriously, he is not accomplished, by any standard.
He is very annoying, in fact. I’m not saying the young man was any more professional, but, he is more enjoyable, because, he loves singing and dancing. It is endearing, while the older man is frequently off-key and monotonously dull. A second year student can play much more proficiently.
He’s a bully, plain and simple. I wish the young man would come out and explain how bad he feels being yelled at like that.
There’s a way to speak to people with respect. This man was acting like a thug.
There’s no excuse for anyone threatening his life, if that’s the case, but, he is not a professional musician, or enjoyable to listen to. He needs to come down a notch!
I am the victim that taking the bullying and currently going through gender reassignment at the moment and the busking gives me more confidence, since it happened, my self-esteem and confidence has went down to zero, the guy is a complete Tory to how to bring people’s emotions down.
I invite you to have a look to what’s going on Italy, Milan – and how the city administration has solved the matter – in the ambit of the pitches booking web platform implemented in these days by the city administration of Milan in cooperation with F.N.A.S. (Federazione Italiana Arte di Strada), the nation federation of street artists: a brand new system, with no previous experiences in the world, that will allow street artists to see pitches online, to fix timetables and calendars for performing. Nearly 300 pitches, selected by city administration, can be booked in Milan, but after the testing phase of three months (started on 15th april) the SAME PLATFORM can be adopted also by other IT and EU cities: in this way the artists, through a single registration, will have the opportunity to fix tours, dates and timetables all over Europe, just via internet! No queues, no payments, no fights for best pitches… The intention is to open the system to main Italian cities and in future to propose the adhesion to the web platform also to other EU cities. All artists (not just Italians) can register for free, and to see how the system works…now the web platform is in Italian, but it seems that after the testing period whole system will available also in English…further info on http://www.stradaperta.it http://www.fnas.org email@example.com