“Honestly, anyone would think that I’d punched Mother Theresa in the face, the way people reacted,” forty eight year old Brian Trenchfoot told the North Hampshire Weekly Motor Mart, following his recent altercation with a ‘living statue’ in Basingstoke’s Market Place. “The bastard suddenly lunged at me as I walked past him, so I naturally told the bronze painted bastard to ‘fuck off’!” The reaction of other shoppers surprised him, however. “One old biddy called me a ‘beast’ and tried to hit me with her umbrella,” he recalls. “Some other bloke shouted ‘Bloody killjoy’ at me – it all started to get ugly. I decided to leg it as it looked like an angry mob was forming, with me as the target rather than that statue bastard! I mean, he was the one who started it – I was just walking to the newsagent, minding my own business when he lunged at me! He should think himself bloody lucky that I didn’t react by smacking him in the face!” The whole experience has left Trenchfoot determined to ‘clean up’ the streets of Basingstoke. “It’s about time we started taking our streets back from these so called street ‘entertainers’,” he declared. “For too long we’ve put up with the bastards making the simple process of shopping an ordeal, as they perpetually get in everyone’s way with their ‘performances’, needlessly surprising passers-by by leaping out at them or assaulting our ears with their out-of-tune singing. People need to stop defending them, showing them sympathy and, worst of all, paying them.”

Trenchfoot believes that a prerequisite to taking back the streets is to re-educate people. “The trouble is that people have been indoctrinated into believing that these so-called street entertainers are actually entertaining, and consequently many of them instinctively move to attack anyone who criticises them. As I recently found,” he explained to the local newspaper. “Personally, I have never understood what the bloody point of a grown adult standing around in public pretending to be a statue is, for instance. If it’s meant to be entertaining, it isn’t. If it is meant to be some form of artistic expression, again, it isn’t. What it is, is boring and moronic. Like most self-styled ‘street entertainers’. They really should be prosecuted under the Trades Description Act as there is nothing remotely entertaining about them! People need to start asking themselves just what entertainment value these street performers are actually providing them with – does it outweigh the public nuisance they cause?” Trenchfoot places the blame for this public indoctrination squarely with the local council and its annual Festival, which sees the streets of Basingstoke awash with street entertainers. “As if the usual bad singers and out of tune guitarists aren’t bad enough, they are now joined by armies of jugglers, acrobats and living bloody statues,” he complains. “By making them part of this sodding Festival every year, not only are they normalising these street entertainers, but in the public mind, they are associating them with the idea of having fun, feeling good and enjoying yourself.”

Except, Trenchfoot argues, the street entertainers are anything but ‘fun’, degrading the whole concept of public entertainment to the level of talentless, self indulgent exhibitionism. “I have never understood why the council thinks it acceptable to unleash these freaks and weirdos on local shoppers on a regular basis,” he muses. “If it isn’t the Basingstoke Festival, then it’s the run up to Christmas which finds the main shopping centre swarming with these menaces to society. I recall some years ago having a set to with some twat on stilts who had smacked me in the face with a plastic butterfly they had on a string while I was trying to do my Christmas shopping. I ask you, what the fuck was that about? Can’t a man go about his business in a public place without being assaulted by some twelve foot tall wanker?” He admits regretting that he hadn’t been carrying a wood saw when this incident occurred. “Then I would, quite literally, have cut them down to size,” he opines. “But, not being some attention-seeking shit head with delusions of being a ‘street artist’, I tend not to wander around in public with random tools on my person. Nor do I walk on stilts, hit people with plastic insects or pretend to be a bloody statue.”

But, as part of his campaign to ‘take back the streets from the street entertainers’, Trenchfoot has vowed to ensure that, from now onwards, he is properly equipped whenever he ventures out. “It isn’t just a saw for those bloody stilt walking pricks,” he claims. “I’ve also got a klaxon to set off behind those living statues after I sneak up on them – you should see the bastards jump! Funny how they don’t seem to like being startled by complete strangers!” Trenchfoot is also prepared to deal with unicyclists. “They are pretty rare and usually juggling, but a real pain in the arse if they do turn up,” he reveals. “But I’m armed with some tacks to throw down in their path, to puncture their tyre – they never have spares so they’ll be screwed.” He concedes that ordinary jugglers are more difficult to deal with. “You’ve just got to try and grab their balls,” says Trenchfoot. “But I do have a powerful water gun ready to extinguish any fire eaters I encounter!”

Despite allegations that he is merely a fun hating kill joy, Trenchfoot maintains that he is trying to provide a public service by battling local street entertainers. “I like a bit of fun as much as the next man, but the fact is that these bastards aren’t actually providing any fun,” he asserts. “On the contrary, they are simply interfering with other people’s enjoyment of public places. People should feel safe to walk the streets without fear of being startled and harassed by these arseholes.” He is also quick to remind his fellow citizens that they were grateful enough of his efforts to rid the town centre of a previous anti-social menace. “You know, I used to think that we had it bad when the town centre was full of those ‘charity muggers’ harassing everyone as they tried to go about their business,” he recalls. “But at least I could tell them to ‘fuck off’ without fear of opprobrium whereas telling self-styled ‘street entertainers’ to ‘fuck off’ is apparently considered beyond the pale. Is it any wonder this town is going to the dogs?”