I’m retiring, says London’s famous megaphone man
Danny Shine sells his loud-hailer on eBay
12 September, 2018 — By William McLennan
A STREET activist known as ‘the Megaphone Man’ has vowed to stop “disrupting public spaces” for the foreseeable future and has sold his loud hailer on eBay after being convicted of a criminal offence.
Danny Shine has spent nearly a decade delivering his unique brand of social commentary on the streets of Camden and could, until recently, be regularly found addressing crowds in Camden Town, Euston, Kentish Town and Hampstead.
Announcing his retirement, Mr Shine said: “Megaphoning has become my primary addiction and addictions need always to be looked at, otherwise they may eventually kill me. I don’t want to be a slave to anyone or anything. I was addicted to the drama and I was heading for serious trouble.”
Over the years, the 51-year-old has taken aim at the giants of capitalism – including McDonald’s and Coca Cola – the legal system and mainstream media. He uploaded recordings of his speeches online and amassed a loyal following, with viewers supporting his critiques of popular culture and defence of free speech.
But he also invoked the ire of businesses and residents, who complained to police that he had become an anti-social nuisance.
This summer he was convicted of a public order offence and made to pay £800 after a trial at Central London Magistrates Court for “using abusive words and disorderly behaviour”.
According to Mr Shine, a vegan, “what I actually did was say the words ‘jerk off’ once and moved my hand up and down in a gesticulation that was deemed to be disorderly behaviour and was found ‘guilty’, adding: “Ironically I was describing the process of milk production and how McDonald’s and factory farmers forcefully jerk off the bulls and then inseminate the cows with the semen.”
Mr Shine launched a crowdfunding drive to cover the costs, which was met in less than 24 hours. The eBay listing for his 25-watt megaphone, which sold for £215, said: “I have now been made a criminal and I am hanging up my boots and retiring from doing this anymore.”
In a video to his 32,000 YouTube subscribers, Mr Shine said: “Free speech in the UK has been dead since the 1986 Public Order Act, which is a disgraceful, crafty piece of catch-all legislation that gives the members of the law society cult ultimate control over us slaves.”
The latest case was not his first brush with the law. Mr Shine was taken to court by Westminster Council in 2013 and in 2014 saw a case dropped due to a lack of evidence over alleged breaches of railway by-laws at Euston railway station.
His visits to Hampstead led to a long-running dispute with PC Nick Dayton, who himself retired earlier this year. PC Dayton had attempted to use anti-social behaviour legislation to prevent Mr Shine from using his megaphone in the NW3 area.
But all previous attempts to silence Mr Shine had failed. News of Mr Shine’s retirement was not well received by all of his followers.
One commented: “Really, that’s it? Come on man, don’t let the system win.” Another wrote: “If you’re not prepared to go the whole way, then you should have never started.”
Others praised him for “changing the way I think” and vowed to pick up where he left off. “I’m moving to London next year and will be megaphoning, or at least speaking openly about what I believe is right,” Tyler Edwards-Tagg wrote online.
Mr Shine has since lodged an appeal against the conviction.