Manilow vs Mall Rats: Barry's ballads to do battle

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) - It'll be Barry Manilow versus the
mall rats.
The New Zealand city of Christchurch hopes that putting the
American crooner's smooth and gentle tones into the mix of music to
be broadcast through the central mall district can pacify unruly
teens who congregate there- or at least convince them to go
elsewhere.
"The intention is to change the environment in a positive way
... so nobody feels threatened or intimidated," Central City
Business Association manager Paul Lonsdale told The Associated
Press. "I did not say Barry Manilow is a weapon of mass
destruction."
A group of several dozen young people regularly spread rubbish,
spray graffiti, get intoxicated, use drugs, swear and intimidate
patrons at the outdoor mall, he said.
The city council, police and local property owners covering 410
businesses agree that "nice, easy listening" music like Manilow's
"Can't Smile Without You," "Mandy" and other hits might change
the behavior of loitering teens.
But one 16-year-old told The Press newspaper that unfashionable
music wouldn't deter them.
"We would just bring a stereo and play it louder," Emma
Belcher said.
Lonsdale countered that the city would then hit them with
anti-noise laws.


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