Web exclusive - Town centre protest planned over YouTube clip

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A YouTube video has sparked plans for a town centre march by a group of buskers, who claim a fellow street musician has been unfairly treated.

The video features a recording of a phone call between Scarborough Council investment manager Nick Taylor and a performer, known locally as Grod.

In the phone call, which was recorded by Grod, the council officer confronts the singer over the volume of his playing following a complaint from staff at the Orange shop, which is opposite his usual spot at the entrance of the Balmoral Centre.

Near the start of the video, Mr Taylor suggests that his music is ‘annoying’ local traders, and asks him to move alone from his site, like he should under the buskers Code of Conduct.

He even offers to pay him 10 pence to help him on his way.

However, other comments, including a reference to Adolf Hitler, have angered fellow musicians, who are seeking an apology from Mr Taylor.

Around 50 people joined a Facebook group showing their support for Grod, and member Marcus McInerney said that they are seeking a public and private apology for Grod.

“His comments are bang out of order, and we now have real issue with the town centre management.

“This has caused Grod a lot of stress. He’s not very well to start with, so this hasn’t helped.

He added that around 50 people are expected to pick up their guitars to partake in a ‘flash mob’ event at Grod’s usual spot.

“Grod’s a well liked figure in the town, and all we want is for Mr Taylor to offer a public and a private apology to him over these comments.”

The video has been on the website since October 9, and despite Scarborough Council disputing its legality, is still online.

And so far, the majority of the comments have sided with the council, with one person saying that publishing the private conversation online was “tacky.”

The Scarborough News was unable to contact Nick Taylor directly for comment.

However, in a statement, Pauline Elliott, Scarborough Borough Council’s Head of Regeneration and Planning, said: “I hope the vast majority of people who have chosen to listen to the conversation on YouTube will come to the conclusion that our Investment Manager, Nick Taylor, remained in the main measured and professional as he attempted to seek a resolution to a delicate issue, in the face of someone who quite clearly was not prepared to compromise and was unwilling to recognise the irritation he was causing to some nearby retailers.

“For his part, Nick does acknowledge that one or two things he said were not taken in the way in which they were meant and he has offered to meet the street entertainer, Grod, to iron out any differences so they can return to the good working relationship previously enjoyed – so far that offer has not been accepted.

“Striking a harmonious balance between the desires of street entertainers, the needs of retailers and the wishes of the wider public who use the town centre is an extremely difficult task. The Scarborough Code of Conduct for Street Entertainers, which is currently being piloted, sets out how entertainers who perform in Scarborough’s main shopping precinct “can earn an honest buck”, while showing consideration and good manners to the business community as well as the thousands of people that shop in the town each day. It also demonstrates the council’s commitment to encouraging varied and quality street entertainment in the town centre. Grod was in fact involved in the development of the code of conduct last year.

“In this particular instance, Nick had received a complaint about the conduct of Grod to the effect he was performing too loudly and was annoying some of the retailers nearby. He had been asked to move but refused to do so. We are also concerned as we think it is inappropriate and possibly illegal for this conversation to have been recorded and subsequently shared online without Nick’s consent.”

What do you make of the video? Who do you side with? Visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wf9wubEE1Q0&feature=youtu.be to watch the video, and please post your comments below.