Busk, Buskers and Busking
March 10, 2004 4:50 AM   Subscribe

Busking around the world in 80 days. Wait a minute... busking? Can you really make a living off of playing music in the street? Yup. Well, maybe not.
posted by moonbird (15 comments total)
If I was to do that I would adopt the street name "Busker Douglas."
posted by norm at 7:24 AM on March 10, 2004

Busking is a form of assault. A busker is essentially no different from a guy getting on the subway with a booming ghetto blaster. (Or for that matter, a guy getting on the subway and sitting down with his legs spread so wide that he takes up three seats.) It's a form of audio fascism, where a bully with a noisemaker (guitar, violin, accordion, ghetto blaster) forces you to listen to something whether you like it or not. Now you might say, "Oh, but I enjoy the little man who plays the harmonica at my subway stop." But I say, "I don't. And I paid the same fare as you and he did. You have every right to invite this little man to come play in your parlour, but not in mine." Goethe (I believe it was) once said, "We will know that a civilization has reached its highest state of development, when its noblest souls are not afraid to use crude, violent tactics to remove buskers from subway platforms, and the instruments of street corner saxophonists are snatched from their hands and hurled beneath passing buses. In truth, people think it is perfectly all right to hate mimes, but give buskers a 'by your leave.' Yet consider this, the mime is at least silent, and the females wear appealing black tights. The busker, by contrast, is rarely much to look at, and disturbs your reading."
posted by Faze at 7:32 AM on March 10, 2004

Busking is why god invented stereo headphones.
posted by aramaic at 8:06 AM on March 10, 2004

Tell me more of this busking,
that faze seems to love so much.
posted by milovoo at 8:08 AM on March 10, 2004

Faze: Do you say stuff like traverse a pedestrian tunnel in real life?
posted by xmutex at 8:41 AM on March 10, 2004

Think of it this way: one more busker = one less mime.
posted by tommasz at 8:46 AM on March 10, 2004

OK, tommasz has a really good point there.

Goddamn mimes.
posted by aramaic at 8:57 AM on March 10, 2004

Adolphe Sax presented his instrument in 1841, nine years after Goethe's death. It couldn't have bothered him that much by then.

Last winter I saw a Russian trumpet player playing solo 4am, temperature being well below -20C. He must have had some kind of special mouthpiece.
posted by ikalliom at 9:46 AM on March 10, 2004

Street musicans are part of the art of cities, and--with obvious exceptions for the old bag ladies who are madder than a box of frogs playing harmonica--many have talent.

I can only assume that the buskers in Faze's city are miserable musicians, who stalk Faze like the paper boy in Better Off Dead, inhibiting Faze's ability to traverse pedestrian tunnels.
posted by terrapin at 10:37 AM on March 10, 2004

Street musicans are part of the art of cities

So basically, this art of cities, it sucks?
posted by kindall at 10:52 AM on March 10, 2004

Maybe in your town, kindall.

But I love the ones I see in DC. The other day I exited the Metro escalator to the beautiful sounds of a competent bagpiper. On weekend nights it is quite fun to watch and listen to the bucket drummers who bang out DCs-own Go Go beats.

When I lived in LA I was fortunate enough to hear and see Ted Hawkins play on the Venice boardwalk and then later at McCabe's guitar shop after he was discovered--shortly before he died.

While I am not a Tracy Chapman fan, she got her start as a busker on the streets of Boston (or at least my friends who attended BU say so).
posted by terrapin at 11:02 AM on March 10, 2004

My neighborhood is full of great street musicians, playing Dixieland, didgeridoos, Catalan folksongs, gypsy jazz, classical cello, and flamenco guitar. On Sundays, there's a guy who sings opera. The old people in the neighborhood get chairs out and sit and listen, and sometimes one of them will join him to sing the other part of a duet.

I'm happy to contribute money to all of them. But the London-Tube-style guys who play "Hotel California" and Beatles songs all deserve to die slowly and painfully.
posted by fuzz at 11:16 AM on March 10, 2004

I think we all need to chip in and buy Faze a pair of earplugs so he can write his manifesto in peace.
posted by bshort at 11:36 AM on March 10, 2004

While visiting the UK in '92 I ran low on cash. So I setup shop on the main drag in Edinburgh, made enough cash to keep on going for another week before my flight home. Not something I'd want to do all the time, but it was a neat experience.
posted by ehintz at 4:46 PM on March 10, 2004

In my sailing days, I knew a couple of 30-something guys who cruised up and down the Pacific Coast of Mexico and Central America, and into the Caribbean, in a big yearly circle, and made all their food/booze/repair/fuel money for their boat by stopping at resorts and juggling. The Good Life, and one I've always been too much of a coward to emulate, much as I've thought about it.

This recycled comment has been brought to you by Google. Remembering your every brainfart, forever.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:37 AM on March 11, 2004

« Older WebWoman   |   Yumbo!!!! Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments