This month's round-up of London-based projects picks out the five most worthy endeavours on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo.
Have you ever walked down the streets of Camden, spied a busker with a crowd of delighted tourists around him or her and thought "That should definitely be taxed"? One man who is plainly horrified by Camden council's strict busker licensing laws is Jonny Walker, a full-time busker who campaigns against the overturning of the £1,000 fine meted out to buskers who either haven't applied for a licence from the council, or have applied but been turned down by a 'panel' on 'fit and proper person' grounds.
Buskers can even have their instruments confiscated and sold to pay the fine. Jonny has made an impassioned video on the subject and has enlisted the help of the likes of Bill Bailey, Billy Bragg and Mark Thomas to keep the streets of north London live, but he needs a few bob to help with the legal fees mounting up as he challenges the legislation. The main pledge reward is obviously enabling musicians to keep plying their trade on the streets of London, but you can also pick up signed EPs, badges, t-shirts, kazoos and all kinds of other bits and bobs for chipping in. There are full details of the campaign (and some successful forerunners) on the Indiegogo page.
Brick Lane Rabbit Hole
Here we have a new comedy play about a date on Brick Lane where everything goes wrong, 'like it always does' according to Barnaby Hallam, the writer and director (on the right in the picture). Barnaby is a British Australian who has been living and working in London since 2008, and who is looking to raise the meagre sum of £1,000 to cover the costs of rehearsal rooms, sets and equipment.
The Rag Factory in Spitalfields has donated its performance space to the production for three shows so you can certainly get to see this play, but a few extra quid would go a long way towards ensuring it fulfils its potential. Rewards include original poster concept art and a 'funky, collectible rabbit cut out'.
Report Animal Torture and Abuse App
Where animals and the internet collide there tends to be a preponderance of 'ahhhh' sounds and general delight, but not all animals are treated like the fluffy owners of our hearts — some face horrific abuse, and such abuse is on the rise in the UK. Hampstead-based actress Heidi Mumford, a long-standing fighter of animal cruelty and neglect, is hoping to use the internet to launch a whistleblower-style app that allows people to report abuse as they witness it and to securely send images or videos direct to the relevant authorities.
A website has already been set up to support the project, but to register as a charity and promote the new app requires funding. Aside from enabling yet more images of healthy and happy cats to appear online, pledge rewards include a Skype chat with Heidi's pets, Indiana and Fred, and an invite to the launch lunch when the app goes live.
Dr Forrester & TV's Frank in London
We fully admit that this may be a tad 'niche'. Dr. Clayton Forrester and TV's Frank (yes, TV's Frank is his name) were characters on the cult American comedy series Mystery Science Theater 3000 during the 1990s. Now fans of the show are hoping to get the actors behind these two heroes of television, Trace BeauLieu and Frank Conniff, over to London to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the show, known lovingly by fans as MST3K. The crowdfund is to pay for the two actors' flights and accommodation, as it seems MST3K wasn't quite the Star Trek-sized hit it might have been in a parallel universe.
And, somewhat implausibly, they are already over halfway towards their goal of doing so. Should you be keen to meet these two sci-fi luminaries, you will probably also be interested in pledge rewards such as 'a signed copy of a Cinematic Titanic DVD and the Robot Roll-call Perk' and an invite to the MST3K all-night screening session.
Cripes! I'm Prime Minister
Trust us, we ummed and ahhed about whether to include this, but then the opening lines of the crowdfunding video for this brand new comedy musical are:
"What do you think of Boris Johnson?"
"I have no idea what he does."
We love nothing more than when Boris is at the very centre of all we discuss about our city, so this musical plainly needs to happen. Gabriella Burnel is the writer/director hoping to bring it to stage, and though the description of the 'plot' on the crowdfunding page is as baffling as a Boris Mayor's Question Time appearance, you are assured of rewards for your support such as a 'making of' documentary DVD and, obviously, tickets to the show. Funding will be used to cover rehearsal and production costs for this 'rollicking, farcical riotous ride of fun'. Which is probably what someone told him the zip wire would be.
Images courtesy of each Indiegogo project (except the last one, courtesy of Dean Nicholas via Flickr).