Pub loses its late licence

White Hart

A pub that has regularly broken its licensing conditions and been accused of “not caring less” has had its late licence removed.

The White Hart Hotel, based in Ampthill town centre, will now be forced to stop selling alcohol and playing music at 11.30pm, and to close at midnight. It was previously allowed to stay open until 2.30am on Fridays, 1.30pm on Saturdays and midnight on Sundays.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the licensing sub-committee of Central Beds Council on Tuesday where a review of the licence was discussed.

Members also took the decision to remove the designated premises supervisor (DPS) Salik Miah from post as licensee. The pub is run by company Punch Taverns Ltd.

Technical officer in the public protection department at Central Beds Council Alan Stone called for the review following numerous complaints from residents over the last few years, and the meeting was packed out with frustrated neighbours.

One resident Alexander Pelling told the committee: “There is a great deal of evidence of serious breaches of conditions by the licensee. You have the report that states not just this, but one particular incident that despite repeated complaints, he simply did nothing.

“He could not care less about the council’s own public protection officer, so it is very hard to imagine he care about local people.

“It is my experience that locally people are mindful of this kind of thing, but this is an example of a landlord that could not care less.”

His wife Jenny added that she had suffered from sleep deprivation due to the loud music coming from the venue over numerous weekends. The couple live just four buildings away, and they told the committee they could here the music in their own house.

Other residents reported having to repeatedly wipe blood and vomit off their cars and driveways and seeing and hearing fights between “drunken” customers leaving the premises.

The meeting was also attended by partnership development manager Edwin Mater at Punch Taverns Ltd, who admitted the pub was guilty of the accusations from the members of the public.

But pleaded for the committee and residents to give them one more chance to prove the venue could be run properly.

They added that there were not problems every weekend and there had been long periods where there had been no complaints at all.

After the meeting a spokesman for Punch Taverns Lts said: ““It is always our priority that our pubs provide a safe and welcoming environments for responsible adults to enjoy good drink, food and entertainment.

“We are co-operating fully as part of the review process and continue to work very closely with the local authorities to address any issues.”




David Bowie track ‘not eligible’ for UK singles chart

The release of Where Are We Now? this week took many David Bowie fans by surprise

The release of Where Are We Now? this week took many David Bowie fans by surprise

The first new track from David Bowie in a decade is not eligible for the UK singles chart.

The Official Chart Company said sales of Where Are We Now? “cannot currently be counted… as the release is linked to an album pre-order promotion”.

“It is not possible to distinguish” people who purchase the song on its own from those who pre-order the album and get it for free, the company explained.

The track was released on Tuesday, coinciding with Bowie’s 66th birthday.

It was made available as a video and an iTunes download and will be followed by a new album, The Next Day, in March.

Where Are We Now? currently tops the iTunes UK singles chart, while The Next Day is the online retailer’s most requested pre-order.

If it had reached number one, it would have given the musician his first UK chart-topper since Let’s Dance in 1983.

Fans were upset to find out the song would not feature in this week’s countdown.

“Surely someone high up can step in and sort it out,” wrote Ian Wade on Twitter.

“A terrible shame,” agreed Lee Thompson. “Means we’re stuck with and Britney instead.”

Another writer suggested Bowie wouldn’t be overly concerned, writing: “He must be crying diamond tears into his dodo-feather-stuffed golden pillow”.

Bowie has not performed live since 2006 and has rarely been seen in public since then, prompting speculation over the state of his health.

The Official Charts Company said the singer’s new track could not be considered for its singles countdown due to “rules which are agreed in partnership with UK record companies and retailers”.

“Should it become possible in the future for regular track sales to be distinguished from album pre-order incentive purchases, then these sales can be counted towards the chart.”

Early death ‘more likely in solo artists’


Successful solo artists are twice as likely to die early compared to those in bands, the journal BMJ Open reports.

The study looked at the careers of 1,400 European and North American rock and pop stars who were famous between 1956 and 2006.

The chances of a European solo artist dying young was one in 10 – and twice as likely for those in North America.

Experts suggest that peer support from band mates may be protective.

The cut-off point of the study was 20 February 2012 – at which point 137 performers had died prematurely.

These included solo artists like Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, rapper 2Pac, Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse and Whitney Houston.

And band members like Kurt Cobain from Nirvana, Sid Vicious from the punk group Sex Pistols and Stuart Cable from Stereophonics.

“Band members can stop an individual spiralling into self-destruction”,  Honey Langcaster-James Celebrity psychologist

The stars’ achievements were determined from international polls and top 40 chart successes, while details of their personal lives and childhoods were drawn from a range of music and official websites, published biographies and anthologies.

The average age of death was 39 years for European stars, with those from North America being six years older on average.

Solo performers were about twice as likely to die prematurely compared to those in a band, irrespective of whether they were European or Northern American.

And while the chances of a European solo artist dying young was one in 10 – it was double that for American solo artists at one in five. The authors speculate this may be due to longer tours in North America plus variations in access to health care and exposure to drugs.

Honey Langcaster-James, a psychologist who specialises in celebrity behaviour, believes the support of a band may be protective.

‘All in the same boat’

She said: “Solo artists in general approach life in a solitary manner – deliberately choosing to go it alone.

“They can find themselves in a situation where everyone around them are paid employees – the PR guru, their manager – all interested in them from a financial point of view and not in their personal needs – it’s hard for the artist to know who to trust.

“They travel a lot, are away from friends and family for long periods of time and only seen for their public image, not their real self – which can make them feel inferior, isolated and invalidated.

“Even for the general population, psychology research has found that people with support have increased lifespan – and those in a band may benefit even more from this – they are all in the same boat.

“It is easier to know who to trust – other members can stop an individual spiralling into self-destruction and pull them back into the group – both because of concern for the band mate, but also because they are all in it together.”

Difficult childhoods

The study also found that while gender and the age at which fame was reached did not influence life expectancy, ethnicity did – with those from non-white backgrounds more likely to die early.

And those that died of drug and alcohol problems were more likely to have had difficult or abusive childhood than those dying of other causes.

The authors of the study, from Liverpool and Manchester, suggest that a music career may be attractive to those escaping an unhappy childhood, but it may also provide the wealth and access to feed a predisposition to unhealthy and risky behaviour.

In the paper they write: “Pop/rock stars are among the most common role models for children, and surveys suggest that growing numbers aspire to pop stardom.

“A proliferation of TV talent shows and new opportunities created by the internet can make this dream appear more achievable than ever.

“It is important they [children] recognise that substance use and risk taking may be rooted in childhood adversity rather than seeing them as symbols of success.”

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