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Monday, 14 May, 2001, 11:53 GMT 12:53 UK
Lloyd Webber gets underground vibe
Julian Lloyd Webber at Westminster station
Julian Lloyd Webber: Tube is part of "everyday life"
Classical cellist Julian Lloyd Webber has become the first official busker on the London Underground.

The musician launched a new scheme to award licences to approved buskers by playing a selection of his brother and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber's songs in Westminster station just after rush hour.

The last thing that you want if you have got a headache or a hangover is someone who cannot play

Julian Lloyd Webber
All money thrown into his cello case will go to the Prince's Trust charity.

Lloyd Webber predicted the Tube could become a new performing outlet - even though it is a far cry from the Royal Albert Hall, where he will play a 50th birthday concert next month.

The London Underground recently changed its rules to allow buskers to play in the network - but only if they have official approval.

If they do not, they are now more likely to be moved on.

A number of official buskers will take part in a six-month pilot scheme at eight stations starting in the autumn.

"It is good to have variety in life," Lloyd Webber said. "I like to play to people but the next stop will be the Royal Albert Hall.

Julian Lloyd Webber at Westminster station
All money raised goes to the Prince's Trust
"I have been in London all my life so the Tube is part of my everyday life. What I do not like is those guys who come with a pre-recorded tape to play to.

"I think it is good that there should be some quality control. The last thing that you want if you have got a headache or a hangover is someone who cannot play.

"There are a lot of really good music students coming out of colleges and the Tube is definitely a new performing outlet that they could use."

A London Underground spokesman said passengers like buskers, but do not want them in carriages or on platforms.

"We are warning them do not come down tomorrow morning expecting a warm welcome because you will not be allowed to play without a licence," he said.

The cellist has recorded an album of his brother's songs, Julian Lloyd Webber Plays Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The pair will also join together for the first time to celebrate Julian's 50th birthday with a concert at the Royal Albert Hall on 1 June.

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