Our History (In Brief)

1972 – 1978 Distributed street poems in London and other towns and cities around the UK. Bongo Mike had a number of exhibitions of his Visual Poems during this period, in venues such as the Camden Arts Centre, Camden Lock, Art Meeting Place (Covent Garden), Bath Festival of Alternative Arts.

1978 – 2009 Performed music in a variety of public place settings (otherwise known as busking) in London, and widely in Western Europe, the Balkans and Asia Minor.

1983 January The Times reports our initial intention to seek political asylum in Belgium, followed by our subsequent decision to settle for a complaint against the British Government at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.

1983 – 1996  Conducted an extended human rights struggle, centring on an action at the European Court of Human Rights, also in Strasbourg, where we alleged infringement of our right to freedom of expression, as guaranteed under article 10 of  the Convention of Human Rights . In conjunction with this, we mounted a series of cases in domestic courts in UK against Metropolitan Police, British Transport Police, London Underground and London Regional Transport, most notably suing the BTP for false imprisonment in 1988, and taking a Judicial Review of LU and LRT’s decision not to allow any busking on the Underground, a case which lasted from 1988 till 1991

1988 Started our independent record company “Newspaper Records”, releasing our first vinyl single “If You Can’t Have A Shave In A Toilet, Where Can You Have A Shave” .

1990 Released second single “I Am The Professor Of The University Of The Street” in Germany.

1991 Performed in peace concert in Skopje, Yugoslavia (now Macedonia).

1996 Joined forces with London Public Entertainers Collective (LPEC) in fight for buskers’ rights on the tube.

1997 Inaugurated campaigning website “Buskaction”, to co-ordinate further action against busking ban. (This website can still be viewed online, but we ceased updating it in 2010, when we stopped our active campaigning about buskers’ rights, owing to Mike’s ill-health.)

1998 Released CD single “Don’t Know Why?” – protest against London tube busking ban.

2000 February Addressed an Opposed Bill Committee in the House of Lords, speaking against a proposal  by Westminster Council  to allow the introduction of restrictive licensing schemes for buskers in London Boroughs.

2000  Released CD album “Exile in Balkan” – stories of Yugoslavia and of the breakup of the country, contrasted with memories of London from a happier time. This album included the song “Song For Bayram”

2002 Performed at Astoria, London, as support act to rock group “My Vitriol”.

2004 Recorded album “War Sex And Family” – an artistic response to witnessing the Macedonian civil war.

2009 May Performed at Troubadour Club, Earls Court, London.

2009 December Final performances on trains in London

2010 Started YouTube channel “Bongo Mike and Extremely Frank Jeremy”  [@NewspaperRecords]

2012 Album “Away From Tube Trains” released by 33Jazz

2020 June Bongo Mike died after a long struggle with small vessel disease.

2021 August Extremely Frank Jeremy resumes performing in the street as a One Man Band.

2021 September EFJ is joined by blues harpist Mal Collins. They perform together in the street.