Wednesday, 27 May 2009

An Apology to Allison Crowe


I don’t usually get angry in this blog but this just about takes the biscuit. Once upon a time in this country, I could roll up at a music venue and expect to see any international artist that was printed on my ticket. It seems this is now a quaint old custom that has no place in the bold new world of today.
Canadian singer/songwriter Allison Crowe, of whom I have written before in these pages, was due to play ‘The Halo’ in Battersea Park Road, London on Monday 25th May. I was due to go along and hopefully get in on the door but come the day, I couldn’t make it. Probably just as well - this is what happened to her when she arrived in the UK (report courtesy of the Telegraph):

‘Allison Crowe, 27, claims she and her two band mates were fingerprinted and had their passports confiscated shortly after flying into Gatwick Airport.

She said they were shut in a room where they were denied contact with the outside world for six hours and that she was told she would never perform in Europe again once her passports had been stamped by the UK Border Authority as "barred from entry".

The group were targeted because they failed to obtain a Certificate of Sponsorship from the venues they were playing in, a little-known visa requirement brought in last November to combat illegal immigration and terrorism.’
Here is the rest of the news item.

Allison and her crew were subsequently deported. So unelected, incompetent-beyond-belief Prime Minister Brown, having ruined just about every other aspect of British Life now turns his dead hand to Border Control. For the last 10 years he has made the ludicrous assumption that no-one is a terrorist and has waved through every murderer, rapist, religious fanatic and urban guerrilla in the known universe to take advantage of our over-generous benefits system. Now it seems he has had a complete change of heart and thinks EVERYONE is a terrorist, especially white female Canadian pianists who can sing a bit. Current policy is apparently to deport them and to ensure that they never come back, ever.

I’m thoroughly embarrassed and completely lost for words. Allison, how can we ever make it up to you?

Here is Allison’s magical version of ‘Hallelujah’ which has been viewed over 3.5m times on YouTube. Musician or terrorist? You decide – the UK immigration authority obviously can’t.

7 comments:

Adrian said...

Thank you, Martin, for caring. No apoologies needed from you - or any of the people of the UK. Allison, to whom I serve as manager, loves it in your homeland, and hopes to return.

Now, we just have to deal with the characters who guard the border ( :

Allison and her band are catching up on rest, and getting back to rehearsals in Germany. They return to the concert stage in under 24 hours.

When Alley surfaces, and has internet access, I'll let her know of your kind support!

cheers, Ad

musicobsessive said...

Thank you Adrian. As to dealing with the authorities, I'll leave that to you, I may well bring a very sharp stick with me! That's why you're a manager and I'm not, haha!

Glad to hear that the tour is continuing and wish you all the best.

Alan said...

Have you calmed down yet?

I must confess I fail to see what extra protection we UK citizens acquire from this additional bureaucracy. Perhaps the rules were introduced to try to prevent Michael Jackson's run of shows at the O2, something which would be a major public service.

Having had the joy, or otherwise, of visiting many countries over the years I have long ceased to be amazed at the strange actions of airport officials. I seem to recall that on my few trips to Canada the officials were generally very friendly whereas those further to the south in the United States of Paranoia are a very mixed bunch. Even trying to leave the country is a major obstacle as holding a non-US passport seems to automatically make you a terrorist suspect in the eyes of the airport security officials.

My current favourite is that you now have to seek permission to get on to an aeroplane travelling to the USA (although the Immigration Service can still turn you back when you get there). You can obtain the permission online (https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov). When it comes to entering the date of birth they don't trust anyone to complete this in a free text box and so provide drop down boxes for the day,month and year of birth. The year option runs from 2009 to 1884! I am not sure that there are that many 125 year old terrorists still around - perhaps the semtex is hidden in the zimmer frame.

musicobsessive said...

Thank you. I have taken my medication and the men in white coats have departed so I'm feeling much better.

It still irritates me beyond endurance that no one in this country can ever get anything right and it's generally because they are imcompetent. John Cleese said recently that the older he became the more he realised that nobody knows what they're talking about. Quite.

Charlie said...

A note to Alan. As Yank who was born, raised, and continues to be a loyal citizen of the United States of Paranoia let me tell you that all you have to do to get into America is to fly to Mexico and sneak across our Southern borders into Texas, Arizona, or California and nobody will stop you. So basically, getting into the USA is the easiest thing in the world to do. You should come west and try it.

Anonymous said...

As a Canadian who has been living in the United States of Paranoia since 1995, I find this post (and the comments) interesting, funny, and maddening all at the same time. I think we can all thank Mr. Bush for the paranoia...

From my understanding, it's now at the point where even I (with a Canadian birth certificate in my possession) can not cross the border into Canada without a passport... and the last time I tried to come back to the States after visiting Canada (last year) I was almost denied entry because I didn't have a USA passport... even though I have a Greencard that clearly states I am a "permanent resident" of the US of P...

The thing is, if a terrorist wants to cross a border they will find a way. Just like putting 10 locks on your front door doesn't stop a burglar from breaking a window if they want in.

-S

musicobsessive said...

Hi S (very enigmatic!) I think your final paragraph says it all. The law only applies to those who abide by it so it is only ever going to inconvenience the innocent. Meanwhile, those who really wish to harm us move about unmolested. Twas ever thus...