This is Earls Court. Just outside the tube station. I’m singing a song called Midnight Special. It’s a song about being released from prison. I see it as quite a religious song. When Bongo Mike and I started busking in London, this was one of the first pitches we found – playing almost where I’m playing now. But the trouble was, in those days you could only last for about twenty minutes (or maybe slightly longer if you were lucky), before the police would come along. They would say, “Oh hello boys, just moving on were we”, or some friendly greeting like that. After a while we found it very difficult to co-exist with all that, and so we went over to the continent – I’m talking about 1978 – and for the next thirty years we spent a large part of our time over there, in exile as we saw it. But we used to come back of course, and while we were back here we used to try and fight against the situation in any ways that we could. We took quite a lot of court cases and got quite a lot of publicity for them, and in the end what we did actually started to have some effect – though it was probably more the publicity than the court cases, because it was rather bad publicity for the set up here. And round the turn of the century a lot of changes started to happen. Now change can be for the good and it can be for the bad. Where it was for the bad was that you got all these awful licensing schemes coming in – on the tube, and lots of towns, and boroughs in London – which wasn’t too good. But the good thing was that it was taken out of the hands of the police, and the way it was going to be handled was put in the hands of local governments, and since time has passed the attitude has started to mellow quite a lot, and busking in the street is in many ways a thing that you can do now without too many of those type of problems. So I sing this song now with a sense of triumph really, because….. we got out of prison.
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