Everything is OK (As Long As You Do As You're Told!)
UPDATE: The one and only MARK THOMAS has agreed to narrate the documentary!
Don’t be fooled by what Danny says in his film and here below, he’s not an artist or even an activist: he’s a bloody nuisance. This film is just a way for him to have endless fun like a child and avoid doing the washing up, spending time with his family and working. The best thing to do is not to give him any attention and eventually he’ll get bored and go away.
Love, Danny’s wife.
For several years, I have been an irritation to shoppers and the authorities alike, going around with my megaphone. I am not preaching any specific agenda, all I want to do is to get people to think about the narratives that we are bombarded with by corporations and society and hopefully entertain them at the same time. This mischief-making has frequently resulted in situations with security guards, community support officers and the police. Even though I always remain within the law and attempt to treat officials with the respect they deserve, I have discovered that we are not quite as free as we are led to believe.
My hijinks have been chronicled on YouTube in amateur videos, which have proven very popular, watched by enough people that I frequently get recognised in the streets. Of course, there are still thousands of people who do not recognise me, much to my dismay. You can check out some of the videos in the gallery section, on my youtube channel, or click this link for an example:
I have long wanted an excuse to produce a professional film aimed at the widest possible audience. That excuse was conveniently provided by Westminster Council when they decided to steal my megaphone and take me to court for breach of one of the obscure byelaws that they use to enforce their own, localised brand of law. The film will follow my defence against the colossal Westminster Council as they attempt to prosecute me for the heinous crime of not doing what I’m told. The byelaw makes it a criminal act not to desist from making a noise if any member of the public asks you to. You can see the full wording by clicking the link below:
The byelaw may seem innocuous, but it takes away our basic right to express ourselves in public. Although my case is really only a small thing, this is about one man’s struggle to stand up to bullying governmental and corporate bodies who make it their business to stop individuals exercising their rights if they don’t like what they’re doing. If we allow freedom of expression as long as it doesn’t “annoy” anybody, then what kind of freedom of expression is that? This film is about the dangers of giving jobsworth employees, with an almost-total ignorance of the law, the power to order people around. It is about the collusion of government and corporations in their insatiable desire to control both ‘private’ and ‘public’ spaces, as well as the space between our ears.
I deny what I am being accused of (I did stop when asked), but I am not just defending myself. I want to affect real change. On my first day in court, I challenged the lawfulness of the byelaw itself. The judge concluded that this was a valid challenge and the case has been adjourned until September in order to give the prosecution time to prepare a proper defence – something they were most certainly not expecting to have to do! They have been using this byelaw to shut people down for years and are now facing the very real prospect that it may be “struck out”, in the process providing real freedom to street performers, artists and anyone who wants to have their voice heard. And in many ways you can understand their position, after all, who wants to see art or entertainment that isn’t sponsored by a major corporation?
By supporting this campaign, you will be contributing to raising awareness of the ways that councils and corporations exploit the man in the street, and thereby to challenging them.
Councils have phenomenal resources at their disposal and have set up the means to prosecute and fine people within a justice system that is inaccessible to most people. In many cases they don’t even get as far as the courts – they operate by bullying, intimidation, authoritative posturing and threat of legal action. And this doesn’t just affect street performers, it’s all over the place. The man who “charged” me for my “offence” also hangs around in Westminster waiting for people to drop cigarette butts and then issuing them with £80 fines. And there are countless other trivial “offences” as well (in case you don’t have sympathy for the poor oppressed smokers) that Westminster Council comes down on people for. Did you know that Westminster makes more than 20 million pounds a year from parking fines?
In supporting this campaign you will be helping, in a very real way, the voice of the people to be heard and will champion the struggle of the “little man” against the faceless tide of bureaucracy.
In addition to that, if you like what I do, you’ll be helping me to reach a wider audience than ever before, and to produce my most polished material to date.
What We Need & What You Get
I am trying to raise £45,000. In trying to work out how much I needed to make this film, my production manager and I came up with a minimum shoe-string budget of £20,000 and a maximum of £80,000. I’ve decided to shoot for something in between the two.
I will not be taking any of the money raised in this campaign for myself. The money will be used to pay a professional team to produce the film. That means crew - producer/director, production manager, cameraman, editor, etc - and equipment and facilities hire – that’s post production and cameras and things. The amount of money raised will directly affect how well we can make this film and what resources and expertise are available to us.
I have tried to be as creative as I can with the rewards and I hope they appeal to you. You can see what they are on the right over there, but generally I have tried to think of things that are either directly connected to the film (like a DVD) or that involve you with the film or with my exploits in general. If there’s anything you want that’s not on there you could always try messaging me through my YouTube channel, Twitter or Facebook.
As I mentioned above, if I don’t reach the entire total, I’ll still be able to press on with the film and will do my very best to create something really good. It’s a simple equation, really: the more funding I have, the more time my filmmakers will be able to devote to the project and the more resources they will have at their disposal.
By contributing to the film, you can help raise awareness about the abuse of individual freedoms by the authorities, as well as exploring questions that so many of us have about the way our society is being run and where we are heading. In my own idiosyncratic way, I will explore these wider issues throughout the film and I hope that it will prove thought-provoking and amusing, even to people other than me.
My exploits are all there to see on YouTube. Though much of it has been released through other people’s YouTube channels, my most watched video has over a million unique views:
and my videos are routinely watched by thousands, sometimes tens, sometimes hundreds of thousands.
If you know and like my material on YouTube then you’ll be well aware of what I get up to. Otherwise you can check out my channel here:
Getting involved in the campaign will help me to take my work to the next level and hopefully a whole new audience.
I will be seeking the widest release possible for the film, though at this point I don’t know exactly what form that will take. It might be television, it might be film festivals, it might be the internet, it might only be available in brown paper bags from underground Soho shops – it might be all of them. Certainly, I’ll do my best to reach the biggest audience I can. I am crowd-funding rather than approaching TV commissioners in order to retain as much control as I can so that I can explore the issues I want to explore in the way I want to explore them.
Other Ways You Can Help
If you are not able to contribute financially but like what I’m doing here, I would still greatly appreciate it if you can help by spreading the word online through social media and telling people about it. So, whether that’s Facebook, YouTube, Twitter or the Indiegogo share tools right here, if you can give me a hand I’d massively appreciate it.
Congratulations if you managed to read this far - only 2% have an attention span this long, so you can show off to your friends. But even if you didn't reach this far, I love you anyway and want to thank you all for taking an interest in my campaign.
Love and blessings