Originally uploaded by Peter Hesseldahl.
In the London tube there are now "busking pitches", little areas designated to street musicians.
I've enjoyed endless hours playing with my old band on the streets of Europe - including the London underground. I always hated the part about feeling illegal, always prepared to run lest the police slap a fine on you.
A closer look at the fine print reveals that there's a consideable bureaucracy involved in this case. You can book the spot for two hours at a time, but before you can book, you have to send an application and show up at an audition. Part of the approval procedure involves turning over quite a bit of personal information, including any previous criminal records.
Not very useful for someone just passing through town - but still, overall it looks like progress to me. At least it's officialy acknowledged now.
Oh yeah, and of course the whole setup is sponsored by a local brewery.