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A Busker's Tale

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Stephen L. Rich 29 Jun 02 - 06:13 PM
katlaughing 29 Jun 02 - 06:57 PM
Bruce 29 Jun 02 - 07:08 PM
Robin2 29 Jun 02 - 11:43 PM
Cappuccino 30 Jun 02 - 02:48 AM
Cappuccino 30 Jun 02 - 02:49 AM
alanabit 30 Jun 02 - 04:31 AM
Hrothgar 30 Jun 02 - 06:18 AM
Hrothgar 30 Jun 02 - 06:26 AM
Stephen L. Rich 30 Jun 02 - 02:43 PM
NobleSavage 30 Jun 02 - 07:09 PM
Stephen L. Rich 01 Jul 02 - 02:15 AM
InOBU 01 Jul 02 - 03:11 AM
Murray MacLeod 01 Jul 02 - 05:09 AM
alanabit 01 Jul 02 - 01:53 PM
EBarnacle1 01 Jul 02 - 01:56 PM
Stephen L. Rich 01 Jul 02 - 07:29 PM
death by whisky 01 Jul 02 - 08:59 PM
Genie 02 Jul 02 - 12:31 AM
alanabit 02 Jul 02 - 04:31 AM
greg stephens 02 Jul 02 - 05:29 AM
greg stephens 02 Jul 02 - 06:05 AM
greg stephens 02 Jul 02 - 06:19 AM
death by whisky 02 Jul 02 - 10:05 AM
GUEST,greg stephens 02 Jul 02 - 10:21 AM
Trevor 02 Jul 02 - 11:37 AM
death by whisky 02 Jul 02 - 08:47 PM
Celtic Soul 02 Jul 02 - 09:39 PM
InOBU 03 Jul 02 - 09:21 AM
Jeri 03 Jul 02 - 10:24 AM
Naemanson 03 Jul 02 - 01:01 PM
alanabit 03 Jul 02 - 04:30 PM
greg stephens 03 Jul 02 - 05:42 PM
Bullfrog Jones 03 Jul 02 - 07:00 PM
InOBU 03 Jul 02 - 09:00 PM
sed 04 Jul 02 - 09:05 AM
alanabit 04 Jul 02 - 02:12 PM
InOBU 04 Jul 02 - 02:29 PM
Stephen L. Rich 07 Jul 02 - 09:16 AM
Naemanson 07 Jul 02 - 09:34 AM
BanjoRay 08 Jul 02 - 05:15 AM
hesperis 08 Jul 02 - 12:55 PM
EBarnacle1 08 Jul 02 - 02:12 PM
alanabit 09 Jul 02 - 01:44 PM
Stephen L. Rich 16 Jul 02 - 12:18 AM
alanabit 16 Jul 02 - 05:17 AM
Stephen L. Rich 07 Aug 02 - 11:51 PM
Polecat 08 Aug 02 - 12:43 AM
GUEST,truer_sound 08 Aug 02 - 01:35 AM
alanabit 08 Aug 02 - 03:26 PM
Murray MacLeod 08 Aug 02 - 10:39 PM
Amos 08 Aug 02 - 11:24 PM
Sorcha 09 Aug 02 - 01:16 AM
hesperis 09 Aug 02 - 01:24 AM
alanabit 09 Aug 02 - 02:55 AM
M.Ted 09 Aug 02 - 01:47 PM
GUEST,Master McGrath 09 Aug 02 - 03:54 PM
ollaimh 20 Aug 02 - 09:45 PM
alanabit 21 Aug 02 - 07:02 AM
Blues=Life 21 Aug 02 - 08:54 AM
GUEST 21 Aug 02 - 12:07 PM
GUEST,Russ 22 Aug 02 - 11:03 AM
Stephen L. Rich 30 Sep 02 - 11:04 PM
GUEST,hoonio 01 Oct 02 - 03:17 AM
Leadfingers 01 Oct 02 - 07:09 PM
GUEST,MrBlue 02 Aug 10 - 11:12 AM
Green Man 03 Aug 10 - 09:15 AM
gnu 03 Aug 10 - 03:18 PM
GUEST,KAREN COUZA 07 Aug 10 - 06:25 AM
GUEST,John Vanek 24 Aug 11 - 07:08 AM
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Subject: A Busker's Tale
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 29 Jun 02 - 06:13 PM

Something happened to me today that I had to pass along. I was out busking. I am fortunate enough to live in one of the few cities in America which is genuinely busker friendly. Being a regular street performer can amount to the income of a halfway decent part time job here.

The first half hour or so was less than wonderful. Due to one thing and another I wound up having to move twice (I hate it when buskers bring portable P.A. equipment). I finally found a stable, if unshaded, spot in front of a little hat shop called "The Sacred Feather".

Despite the heavy crowds out on this Saturday afternoon, tips were a bit thin. That happens once in a while. It's almost always impossible to tell why. Some days one does well, some days one doesn't. I was starting to get very frustrated and annoyed when an old man in a wheelchair passed by. He was almost a quarter of a block passed me when I started to sing Josh White's "One Meatball". The old man backed up, turned his chair to face me, and started singing along. His voice was thin and barely audible, but none the less joyful for all that. He knew every word (which was a good thing because I'm just learning it and am still a bit shakey. You know how that goes. You've tried every trick in the book to get something happening and nothing is working , so you use the time as sort of a mutated form of paid rehearsal). He knew the song so well that by the third verse I was following him.

When the song was over he thanked me, and wheeled away with a big grin on his face (which is easier to manage than having a big grin on you elbow). That little event made my day. I still came home today with only about twenty bucks to show for it, but I can't bring myself to get too upset about it.

It's very easy for me to get tunnel visioned on the nuts and bolts of making a living. I am, however, fortunate enough to occasionally encounter something in the universe that will rattle my cage hard enough to remind me what the music is for.

Stephen Lee Rich


Removed BS from the title 8:56AM, Jul 2 02. It's a (wonderful) music-related thread. --JoeClone


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Subject: RE: BS: A Busker's Tale
From: katlaughing
Date: 29 Jun 02 - 06:57 PM

Wow! What a wonderful experience! I'll bet you really made his day and look what the two of you passed on through sharing! Thanks!


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Subject: RE: BS: A Busker's Tale
From: Bruce
Date: 29 Jun 02 - 07:08 PM

Stephen ... thanks for the story ... I'm sure that many of us also find it too easy to be "tunnel visioned" about the work/money/making a living rather than the experience of connecting with people through our music ... and when you get right down to it, who wants the "bread" anyway?


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Subject: RE: BS: A Busker's Tale
From: Robin2
Date: 29 Jun 02 - 11:43 PM

Stephen,

Thanks for the story....a wonderful thing about being a performer....

How many other professions can so visibly touch someone, while you are trying to pay the rent?

Thanks for the reminder.

Robin


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Subject: RE: BS: A Busker's Tale
From: Cappuccino
Date: 30 Jun 02 - 02:48 AM

I admire anyone who has the guts to busk. Ask Alanabit in Cologne about it... I'm waiting for him to write his autobiography about it!!!

- Ian B


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Subject: RE: BS: A Busker's Tale
From: Cappuccino
Date: 30 Jun 02 - 02:49 AM

Having just written the above, I remember there's a busker I used to see regularly on a Saturday morning in a shopping street in Wiltshire. He was absolutely awful... but he went out and did it, and evidently did it with a good heart, happily and doing his best.

I admired him too.

- Ian B


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Subject: RE: BS: A Busker's Tale
From: alanabit
Date: 30 Jun 02 - 04:31 AM

That's the real value of what we do Stephen. You get people stopping you in the street and telling you months and years later about how they unexpectedly found you on the street and a show, a song or a gag suddenly turned their evening or day around and made it into a memorable experience. You are obviously putting out something people need. Good luck to you. Alan.


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Subject: RE: BS: A Busker's Tale
From: Hrothgar
Date: 30 Jun 02 - 06:18 AM

How much did you put in his hat?


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Subject: RE: BS: A Busker's Tale
From: Hrothgar
Date: 30 Jun 02 - 06:26 AM

Sorry, SLR - should have added :-))


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Subject: RE: BS: A Busker's Tale
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 30 Jun 02 - 02:43 PM

Hrothgar -- LOL. You didn't need to add the grin.

Robin2 -- No other professsion that I can think of.

IanB -- More power to that guy. Even if he was awful he was still making the neighborhood more colorful and fun to be in.

alanabit -- Well said.


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Subject: RE: BS: A Busker's Tale
From: NobleSavage
Date: 30 Jun 02 - 07:09 PM

Ah, busking. . . one of the many "oldest" professions. Speaking as a cured and seasoned busker myself, all draw near and listen.

I and three friends once busked in Berkeley, around '82 or so--the street scene there can be really *challenging* to deal with (wry understatement). So, there we are, brave combination of fiddle, piano-accordion and guitar, and we are doin' our best to lay down that old-time old-world groove to keep from getting lost in the madness. Let me tell you, friends, it was a real test of a musician's art--after the hare krishnas(twice), the moving clot 'o' drunks(smelly) and the poor lost soul who, after bidding an abrupt and noisy farewell to his breakfast(trash can, urk) proceeds to follow it with bible verses shouted incoherently in its wake.

So, after all that(sigh), it was indeed the right time for a friendly soothing waltz--so, the fiddle player strikes up tune called "Waltz of the little girls" and we all, gratefully join in. Now, who should (seemingly) appear from out of nowhere but this angelic lass, maybe 6 years old, Cute as, well, like fairytale cute--proceeds to dance, not the usual cute-li'l-girl skipping and hopping about, but seemingly developed steps and moves. I mean, it was Choreography, either she'd had teaching or was just naturally talanted but, let me tell you, it would have been a joy to play for anytime, but after All That. . . We kept going 'till she got tired and stopped. We gave *her* a dollar. It seemed like the right thing to do. It's one of my favorite tunes.

That is my busking story. NS


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Subject: RE: BS: A Busker's Tale
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 01 Jul 02 - 02:15 AM

That's wonderful! I love it!


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Subject: RE: BS: A Busker's Tale
From: InOBU
Date: 01 Jul 02 - 03:11 AM

blsmith!!!
Who needs the bread anyway??? Let's not get carried away! We buskers are workers also, and it is hard to pay the rint with a smile and a song. Storries like this are in fact how we get through the day in a hard and unforgiving industry, but lets not forget, we deserve the bread as well, bread yes and roses.
By the way, what city is busking friendly!? that is an increaingly rare old thing!?
Cheers Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: A Busker's Tale
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 01 Jul 02 - 05:09 AM

Not busking related, but Noble Savage's story of the little girl reminds me of seeing Alasdair Fraser play a Scottish Festival in Plantation, South Florida.

He was in the middle of playing a driving set of reels when this little black kid about seven years old came out ofthe crowd, up to the front of the stage, and started dancing to the music. He was doing his own Michael Jackson-esque movements, but he did it all SO right. The audience were entranced, and Alasdair kept playing until the boy got tired.

It was a moment of pure magic, a genuine instance of music sans frontieres.

Murray


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Subject: RE: BS: A Busker's Tale
From: alanabit
Date: 01 Jul 02 - 01:53 PM

I want some more of these stories. Sure it's a hard, unforgiving way of paying the rent - and I have years of that behind me too - but you do get moments of pure magic. Come on Larry, let's have one of yours!


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Subject: RE: BS: A Busker's Tale
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 01 Jul 02 - 01:56 PM

This weekend, my son and I were in the subway, waiting for a train. There was chinese musician with an interesting instrument which looked like a 2 string version of a fiddle. One of the unique things about the instrument was that it was bowed with the strings inside the bow. The sound box looked like a small drum. Although he was clearly practicing rather than performing, it was a pleasure to hear him until our train came along. [Of course we put something in the pushka.]


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Subject: RE: BS: A Busker's Tale
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 01 Jul 02 - 07:29 PM

InOBU -- The city is Madison, Wi.

everyone else -- I'm keen to hear more of these stories, too. Keep 'em comin'!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: A Busker's Tale
From: death by whisky
Date: 01 Jul 02 - 08:59 PM

We set of from Cardiff in our ex-German Police van.Running late because the engine twisted a couple of days earlier.We managed to replace the 1600 ,with a 1300 beetle engine.The hilly parts of the M5,went from 25mph uphill,to about 60 downhill,hoping the momentum would carry us over.We had reduced ferry tickets.The boat we missed was the last one that they applied to.And so ,we stopped at Taunton services,busked for an hour,sold some bracelets.Arrived in France with a tenner........


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Subject: RE: BS: A Busker's Tale
From: Genie
Date: 02 Jul 02 - 12:31 AM

Wonderful stories, folks!


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Subject: RE: BS: A Busker's Tale
From: alanabit
Date: 02 Jul 02 - 04:31 AM

That's a real busker's story DBW! I used to leave Cologne in my old Opel Rekord without the petrol money (let alone ferry ticket) to get to the coast. I would do a couple of evening pitches in Aachen on the way. It was a lovely place to busk back then. Then I would sleep in the car and busk in Rotterdam for a day or two. Street shows rarely took off there, so it was mainly terraces in the afternoon and then the pubs of the Oude Binnenweg in the evenings. You would meet all the Feyenoord fans and they would swap football stories. Then at around midnight, you could get a cheap night ferry back to the UK from Hook of Holland. Sometimes you could even pick up a hitch hiker on then way, and there was enough loot in your pocket to treat them to a bun and a cup of coffee. Kings of the world in those days...


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Subject: RE: BS: A Busker's Tale
From: greg stephens
Date: 02 Jul 02 - 05:29 AM

Busking with Kate down in the Carmargue once ( south of France) , after a longish arduous trip working our way down through France) and it was very very hot with a nasty dusty wind. We'd headed south because it seemed a good idea to find good weather. Anyway, that day in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer , surrounded by the cowboy=booted gypsies etc,we looked at each other and said "This is shit, isnt it". And we jumped in the car and drovw non-stop to the Hague, sat outside a cafe and had a nice cup of tea and enjoyed some cool weather. (That may notbe a long drive in American "On the Road" terms, but in Euroland it's a long way to go fora cup of tea!
We had headed for France originally on a one way ticket, and arrived in the Hague with nothing (as is the way on busking odysseys), so we ended up stuck in Amsterdam for awhile, we'd get the fare to England together in small change by hard work, and then we'd go out for a night on the town before departure, and wake up with just that little bit less than the fare. And so that went on day after day, but that was another set of stories.


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Subject: RE: BS: A Busker's Tale
From: greg stephens
Date: 02 Jul 02 - 06:05 AM

For those interested in the busker's life, can Irecommend the current thread entitled "Lish Young Buy a Broom". This presents a wonderful(if slightly rose-tinted) 19th century view of the buskers life. Of particular interest to the modern busker are the costume details included inthe longer versions, which are very relevant to modern discussions: dirty jeans/woolly hat/black dog on string v Full-on costume and makeup job.


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Subject: RE: BS: A Busker's Tale
From: greg stephens
Date: 02 Jul 02 - 06:19 AM

To save you looking it up, the relevant verse runs:
We arrived in Kendal being dressed Oh so fine
Velvet caps and jackets and buckles they did shine
We'd each a long ribbon, hung down from our caps
Nineteen bright sovereigns she threw down in a slap


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: death by whisky
Date: 02 Jul 02 - 10:05 AM

In Cooncarneau,one of the old walled cities,I wore a bolero,stripey green/black trousers and multi coloured DMs.With the mandolin it looked quite jesterish.


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: GUEST,greg stephens
Date: 02 Jul 02 - 10:21 AM

Hate to tell you, Death by Whisky, but we don't call it "Cooncarneau" nowadays. It's a bit, you know, offensive.....


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: Trevor
Date: 02 Jul 02 - 11:37 AM

I was living in Frankfurt am Main in 1971 and remember hearing an American couple singing (I also came across them in Heidleberg I think) and I remember thinking that that was how I wanted to spend my life. It didn't quite work out like that but they surely influenced my view of the world. (Long shot I know, but it would be great if someone out there in Mudcatopolis knew who they were - chap with flat cap and moustache, a la Paxton and girl with long hair - banjo and guitar I think.)

In Turkey, Marmaris, in about 1983, before it became too Blackpoolish, I was singing my heart out whilst waiting for a bus, and having the odd coin flung at me. A local bloke came along and said in a very excited fashion 'you must wait there while I get my harp!!.' He reappeared with his harmonica and we spent half an hour having a load of fun swapping tunes, until the police moved us on. When the bus arrived I got on and got my seat. My new pal, overcome with emotion, raced out of a shop with a little tray of mint tea and persuaded the bus driver that he had to wait while we drank a toast to brotherhood and safe journey (actually the bus driver joined us as well). I counted my half of the big heap of coins we'd gathered together before the law had intervened - it amounted to about thirty pence! Easy come, easy go....but I've got an old friend somewhere in Turkey.


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: death by whisky
Date: 02 Jul 02 - 08:47 PM

Sorry greg,2am,few beers,too many keys.The nearest I got to N.Africa was Gibraltar.Not reccomended.We were evicted from a derelict garage by the M.O.D. One of the lads told us that if you did time for vagrancy,a couple of days usually,when yougot out you could get the dole (unemployment benefit)straight away.Anyway,all the buskers would meet in the catholic missionary for breakfast and divide up the town between us.We actually pitched our tent in La Linea,and crossed over every day.At one point we were split up because the respective governments were having a tiff over airports or something political.


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: Celtic Soul
Date: 02 Jul 02 - 09:39 PM

Wonderful tales! I do believe that there are those moments that occur just to remind us of the magic. Sometimes we get bogged down in politics or the machinations of the biz.

And yes, the pay is needed and well earned, but without the smiles, it's just another job.


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: InOBU
Date: 03 Jul 02 - 09:21 AM

Hi Stephen:
Been on the road a few days, so excuse the late reply... Madison! I sould have known it, the land of Critical Legal Studies approach to law, the little island of sanity in the other wise, well, odd little planit called Cheezeland... where folks wear cheeze on their heads... had a friend who was an Uillann piper in Madison, moved to Arizona... but Madison always struck me as a good place.
Good luck and blind cops to ye'
Larry


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: Jeri
Date: 03 Jul 02 - 10:24 AM

Larry, busking's perfectly legal in Portsmouth NH too. A few times, a couple of summers ago, we got done with the Fri session but nobody wanted to quit playing. We went to Market Square and set up on a corner. There was a cop across the street and I kept thinking he'd tell us to move because we were interfering with pedestrian traffic just a little bit. Nope - just sat. Who knows - maybe he liked the music as well. My (completely unfounded) feeling is that busking is somewhat encouraged rather than simply tolerated.

As much as I complain about the tourists, they bring money. They also see the wonder in things locals may take for granted.


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: Naemanson
Date: 03 Jul 02 - 01:01 PM

Great stories guys. Makes me want to give up my 9 to 5 and hit the streets... NOT!

Actually I'd like to give up the 9 to 5 but I'm within 5 years of retiring so I guess I'll hang in here a little longer. You guys keep it up and I'll keep dropping the coins.

Let's hear some more. Larry ought to have some. Who else among the Mudcats and guests busks regularly?


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: alanabit
Date: 03 Jul 02 - 04:30 PM

Sometime back in the eighties, Pete Oswald and myself were busking every night in Hohestraße in Cologne. It was going great - warm weather, big crowds, folks singing along and I was inventing new routines every night. We overran the ten o'clock time limit night after night.One night, we were doing our encore at around a quarter past ten when a police car rolled up and stopped just behind the crowd. We had been politely told to stop at ten every previous evening for about a week. I winced at Peter and muttered something like,"We'll make it quick, quiet and then get the Hell out of here pronto!" We finished the song and as the applause died away we heard the crackle of the police car's loudspeakers being switched on. The anouncement was,"Would the two musicians be kind enough to sing another song for a couple of Cologne policemen!" Come on Larry, let's hear some of your stories.


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: greg stephens
Date: 03 Jul 02 - 05:42 PM

Most interesting donations:
£20 note
packet of durex
packet of herbal cigarettes with 19 in(donor a 10-year old shoplifter who had tried one and found it disgusting, and who can blame him?)
tray with two mince pies and two glasses of sherry 9from a very nice man in Whitchurch, Shropshire,UK)


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: Bullfrog Jones
Date: 03 Jul 02 - 07:00 PM

Not *exactly* busking, but....
We were on our way to Hungary as part of a reciprocal arrangement that had brought some Hungarian singers and musicians to Stony Stratford. We were all (about a dozn of us) to meet up in Szombathely, and our contingent was The Bullfrogs plus Roddy Clenaghan, packed into a van, taking it in turns to drive and sleep (with Vicky the fiddler about six months gone, but we weren't worried -- we had plenty of gaffa tape and a Swiss Army knife). We've decided to stop somewhere in Germany, find a cheap hotel and get a bath and a decent night's sleep, so we come off the autobahn, take a few wrong turns and end up in a completely different town from the one we'd been headed for. We park the van and head for a late lunch at a nearby bar. We're all sitting outside in the sunshine, and one of our number comes back from the interior and says that it looks like they have music here in the evenings. So we persuade Vicky, who has a bit of the German, to go in and see if we might come back later and play a bit. Yes, no problem they say. So we go off and find a hotel (a bizarre hunting lodge-type scenario, with stuffed animals and little skulls everywhere), have a nap and a shower and head back to the bar in the evening. It's a cellar bar, and they've made space for us at one end, so we sit around session-style and do our stuff, a mix of band material and individual turns, which goes down well as the bar fills up. The beer is flowing and you couldn't put a glass down without it being filled up again. Then out comes a trayful of whiskies (Chivas Regal, no less) and the music goes on. The crowd is pretty knowledgable, and there's one guy who looks like Jerry Garcia's German cousin who's mad about Dick Gaughan, so Roddy's Burns songs go down a treat with him. About ten o'clock the barmaid comes over and says perhaps you'd like to stop for a while and have something to eat, and serves up a free meal! We carry on after that for another hour, more beers, another trayful of whiskies, and at the end of the night the barmaid comes back and says we had a collection and hands over the equivalent of seventy-odd english pounds! It was the most magical night of a great trip -- all the better for being totally unexpected, and we've kept a card from the place for next time we're in the area. In fact Jerry Garcia said that if we get in touch with him he'll fix us up in a few other venues, so we might just make a proper tour of it.
Oh, and two days after we got back to Blighty, Vicky went into premature labour!
BJ


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: InOBU
Date: 03 Jul 02 - 09:00 PM

Okay folkies... The Popular Halfwit and I were busking in Wiltshire, on land that was in the National Trust (busking prohibited on the same). The owner came over and told us that busking was not legal or allowed, but that he was looking the other way, as he liked the music, and not to tell others about his leniency (so I am not saying where it was). Lots of odd things have been tossed into the box, must say in responce to the querry, a three of hearts card, have to think what the oddest was, cigarettes (for a non smoker) no drugs, least none I would recognise.
Cheersm'dears...
Oh got a gig at a party for a millionair director of Chase bank once, a number of years back, Genie came along and taught them all Ceili dancing at their little party, no a really fun bunch, but not impolite.
Cheers again, Larry


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: sed
Date: 04 Jul 02 - 09:05 AM

Streetsinging in Birmingham (Alabama) was almost never called busking. Of all my 'professional' musical activities Streetsinging is still my favorite. When every town encourages street entertainment then we will know that democracy has finally arrived.


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: alanabit
Date: 04 Jul 02 - 02:12 PM

That sounds very much in the spirit of the busker's life to me Bullfrog Jones. It's about being able to turn it on and make your music or show work somewhere spontaneously.


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: InOBU
Date: 04 Jul 02 - 02:29 PM

Alanabit, that is it entirely! I often would reherse the band in the park for that reason, one we'd get paid to practice, two, you learn right away what works, with a audience who are right in your face, also, rehersing on trains going to out of town gigs is great, you know if your on to something if folks don't tell you to knock off.
Cheers Larry


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 07 Jul 02 - 09:16 AM

I've got some unique competition, here in Madison. There's a fellow who parks himself at the top of State St. who sings and plays guitar reasonably well and has an unbelievably vast repetoire of children's songs. He has a gimmick, however, that is making him nearly impossible to compete with.

He has a puppy in his guitar case.

I wish that I had thought of that.


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: Naemanson
Date: 07 Jul 02 - 09:34 AM

Wait til that puppy grows up into a full sized rotweiler.

What has four legs and an arm? A rotweiler!


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: BanjoRay
Date: 08 Jul 02 - 05:15 AM

Again not really busking. Back in the sixties, five of us from Aberystwyth University took our instruments over to Ireland to visit the Fleadh Ceoil. We got on a train and started a jam in one of the compartments. The ticket collecter saw us and invited us down to the guard's van at the back of the train where he plied us with whisky and we played all the way to Waterford. Brilliant.

Cheers
Ray


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: hesperis
Date: 08 Jul 02 - 12:55 PM

Wow... *Sits and soaks up all the cool stories*

Hopefully this'll fortify me for when I actually do some of this myself. *Wink*


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 08 Jul 02 - 02:12 PM

When last in Denmark, some of us set up in the midst of Copenhagen, just for the hell of it. Within about 15 minutes, we had enough to pay for several beers, so we did. No hassles,just people who acted like an audience.


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: alanabit
Date: 09 Jul 02 - 01:44 PM

Driving along an Autobahn in Austria in 1990, I saw two lads hitching. "Somebody had better pick them up before they get run over," I thought. I picked them up and drove them into Linz. They were in their early twenties and both from Czechoslovakia. One spoke rudimentary English and the other rudimentary German. We got on just fine. They were making for Prague. "I've got a couple of days," I thought, so I made them an offer. "If you show me where I can do a busking show and then where I can get a shower afterwards, I'll take you to Prague," I said. Off we went. The drive in my old VW bus took a few hours and the suburbs of Prague looked very unpromising. Anyone who has seen the centre of that fair city will tell you it is best to reserve judgement until you have seen the centre. I did one of the best busking shows I have ever done in my life on that beautiful, warm August night. The show ended with the crowd singing "Back in the USSR" - doing both the harmonies and making the aircraft noises for me. You have to see a good busking show to appreciate just how daft it can be! After the set, I drove the lads another fifty or so kilometres out of town to their homes in Mlada Boleslav. I was welcomed with open arms by one of the families and got my shower, some supper and a very comfortable bed. (Nice when you've been sleeping in your bus for a few weeks). The next day I spent in Prague again and the excitement was tangible. Then an English newspaper headline proclaimed,"Coup Attempt Fails". I had been quite unaware of the cataclysmic events in Russia. Of course, the final fall of Communism in the Soviet Union had effectively made Czechoslovakia safe. The atmosphere was unforgettable - as was my extraordinary luck at being there at such a historic time.


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 16 Jul 02 - 12:18 AM

Speaking of busking, check THIS out! CLICK HERE


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: alanabit
Date: 16 Jul 02 - 05:17 AM

Thanks Stephen. I'm going to check this out more thoroughly when I get in from work this evening. If you are interested in anything I can send you from this side of the pond, please PM me.


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 07 Aug 02 - 11:51 PM

Imagine this scenario: Fifty or so entertainers are put into a pot (Buskerfest '02), stir vigorously ( by having everyone working for "traditional busker's pay"), and turn up the heat ( by way of all of the mistakes, snafu's, insanities, and confusions which happen any time that your diong any kind of festival in a given location for the first time). What do you think will happen?

In the case of Buskerfest '02, we made one heck of a good soup. Everyone showed up believing that such an event could work in Chicago and set thier minds to the task making it happen. I have rarely been treated to the level of proffessionalism and spirit of cooperation which dominated the fest.

Except for the payment part (which will be changed by next year), this is why we take our talents to the streets or clubs or fests or whatever -- for that shared positive experience. Even on the pay issue BTW evryone, at least, broke even. Some even made a small profit. I was in the former group, but I wouldn't trade that weekend for the world.


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: Polecat
Date: 08 Aug 02 - 12:43 AM

I read with interest your little story on "busking" which was quite nice... Read on.... Here in St.John's,Newfoundland,we have the "loyal few" that literally are out in the streets doing a few ditties pretty much every night of the week,some nights more "dry" than others on the financial ends of things.

It's often that I'm behind the wheel of my cab and find some buskers a little shy of a crowd and short financial wise,so when the nights are not so busy,I tend to pull up in the cab next to them and toss a few loonies into their guitar cases to listen to a few ditties. Dunno how often I've heard the same old songs I've requested...I only know they play them a little better every time,and,at 1 in the morning it helps to pass awat the nights for us both.

Probably one of the reasons I'm always a few bucks shy at the end of the night,but,one of these days,a busker's gonna hit it bigtime and write about me!

Regards,and a great story!


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: GUEST,truer_sound
Date: 08 Aug 02 - 01:35 AM

I'm not sure if this counts as busking...

Some friends and I loaded up in the back of a truck to go to a music festival at popular concert spot in western wisconsin, USA. Our plan was to get to the camping area around the time the festival closed on Friday night, sing for our supper, and then try our fortune in the parking lot early the next morning. We played the lot that night and earned a little grub, hopped in the camper fro a good nights rest, and awoke to an entirely deserted venue the next morning. none of us had researched enough to know it was only a one-nighter.

So we broke out a bottle we were saving and played some tunes for ourselves, having nothing better to do. while we were playing, we kept hearing shouting from somewhere, and finally we had to investigate.

It turns out that one of the camping areas close to the venue offers a shuttle that takes campers up and down a river so they can float it on innertubes. So we sat down alongside the river and began playing for the floaters.

It worked like a charm! People began throwing all sorts of things: money, beer, wine coolers, food. We played until we ran out of tunes, but since our patrons only heard us for a few minutes while they floated by, we could start over again without a problem! We began asking what people wanted to hear...you only needed to know one verse of a song, just enough to get the requester out of earshot. I'm not a seasoned street performer, but this was easily my most successful and rewarding experience wrapped into one!!


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: alanabit
Date: 08 Aug 02 - 03:26 PM

It sounds like busking to me - seizing a situation and turning it into an event...


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 08 Aug 02 - 10:39 PM

One of the few regrets I have in life is that I never tried busking during the time of my residence in the USA.

BUT, I know where I will go to do it if I ever return again and that is the most southerly point of mainland USA in Key West, Florida. There is a marker there saying "Southernmost Point of the USA" that is a tourist magnet, but any time I was there there were never any buskers. The place is a gold mine waiting to be discovered.

There are a few drunks hanging around offering to take your picture, but I doubt they would be a problem ...

Murray


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: Amos
Date: 08 Aug 02 - 11:24 PM

About 18 years ago the worst storm in recent history started to build up while a mate and I were out scouting for sea urchin beds, in a little dive-boat off the coast here in Southern California. We got blown into Avalon and tied up snug; it was a helluva blow and it went on for several days. Several boats were blown right off their moorings.

Anyway, we were out of dough and kinda short on food by the time it was over. So for the last couple of days we just turned out ashore with a six-string and a blues harp and played for the local breakfast cafe, which earned us enough to eat. Not our usual approach to breadwinning, but when you're out of luck ya gotta make do somehow. It kept us together until the weather blew over and we could skedaddle for home!

A


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: Sorcha
Date: 09 Aug 02 - 01:16 AM

I guess I just have to be brave and try this one of these days.......problem for me is that EVERYBODY in this small town knows me; maybe I should just go to a bigger town where nobody knows me. Do ya'll "salt" the box or is that cheating?


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: hesperis
Date: 09 Aug 02 - 01:24 AM

Salt it. Better yet, put it in the case before you leave home, and always leave a dollar or two in the case afterwards. (I always feel nervous about putting my own money in it in public.)


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: alanabit
Date: 09 Aug 02 - 02:55 AM

Yes Sorcha. It's not cheating. What's more, leave the bigger money in and take the shrapnel out. You are worth money, so always tell your audience that you expect to get it. You are not playing for nickels and dimes, you are playing for dollars. Good luck. Alan.


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: M.Ted
Date: 09 Aug 02 - 01:47 PM

Murray--You must have hit Key West on on off day--when I was last there, it seemed a Mecca for buskers--though for most, the "Kaaba" seemed to be Margaritaville--


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: GUEST,Master McGrath
Date: 09 Aug 02 - 03:54 PM

There used to be a busker in Liverpool who used to make himself a new banjo every day out of waste cardboard. He would just cut out the shape and draw the strings on with a felt tipped pen. He would then sing....."PLING PLING A PLINGA PLING PLING PLING A PLINGA PLING ...." (I'm sure you all recognised "Bring out the Barrel" there) He made good money and used to give the banjo away at the end of the day to any passing curious child.


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: ollaimh
Date: 20 Aug 02 - 09:45 PM

well i'm going to revive this thread. i have been busking for thirty year--i ought not to admit that, and have a few tales, but for now let me say it is the people who you actually cheer up in the midst of depression or grief who are whorth the hasles of the job. there are lots of hassles at times but every few weeks someone tells me of their personal disaster that was getting them down untill they heard me palying a tune that cheered them up or a sad song. now we do rather get treated like gypsies from time to time. i was in new brunswick a few weeks ago and tried to busk the noncton market and some self important fat head kicked me out--even though they permit busking. i went to the street near the entrance and still got most of the crowd. i was making a lot of money as they don't see much but a singer guitarist there, and i was playing harp or mandolin in turn. didn't the jerk try to get the police to arrest me. this can be a touchy situation as even if you atre right when you are on the road you can't wait around for a court date to prove it. luckily for me the bicycle cops who tour the market came over listened to me and told the market boss he didn't know class when he saw it. so they left me alone.

i wassinging a few somgs in french as well . something i thought i ought to do as i am a quarter acadien and the response from the local acadiens was terrific. they could tell by french was sketchy but they were very appreciative all the same . so busk on


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: alanabit
Date: 21 Aug 02 - 07:02 AM

In my experience, you are not in too much danger from the normal uniformed police if you handle them courteously. By explaining calmly that you will try to disturb nobody and that you are earning your living, you can often negotiate a sensible compromise. Of course, usually, if some local windbag orders the police to remove you - or even charge you, they have to do it. In practice, the police will come if they have to, but they are unlikely to come rushing out with sirens and flashing blue lights. They feel more comfortable nicking real criminals.


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: Blues=Life
Date: 21 Aug 02 - 08:54 AM

Years ago, I was hanging out in Jackson Square in New Orleans, listening to two guys who were playing jazz. The money wasn't falling very well, but the crowd was getting bigger. Finally, the younger of the two stood up, and announced that he would now do something he rarely did, but to please remember that the money goes INTO the case. He cleared a path on the bricks, moved back 30 paces, started sprinting, then did 3 roundoffs and a back flip. The crowd went nuts, the cash fell like rain, and they went back to busking, only this time profitably. Sometimes you just got to get their attention!

LOL, Blues


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Aug 02 - 12:07 PM

The other day it was windy here and I saw two guys braving the gusts to try and work the crowd. A man past and went to put a bill in the guitar case when the wind plucked it out of his hand and blew it around the corner. In mid-tune the guitar player (not a very young man) took off sprinting after it and actually got on his hands and knees to retrieve the money from under a van!


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 22 Aug 02 - 11:03 AM

The following is NOT my story. Dennis Cramer told it at Augusta (Elkins WV) this summer.

Dennis was a folk newbie. He had never played in front of people. He decided that his first venture into public peformance would be as a busker.

He sets up on a street corner and begins to play and sing. He'd been at it for about 10 or 15 seconds when a drunk wanders up. The drunk listens for a few moments and then screams for the world to hear, "You suck!" Dennis doesn't know how he did it but he kept going. After listening for a few moments more, the drunk screams, "I cannot believe how bad you suck!"

At this point Dennis says he was trying to decide whether to curl up and die or fold his tent and crawl silently away.

But then he had an epiphany. He thought to himself, "Wait a minute. I have been singing publicly for less than a minute, and already the worst possible thing that can happen to a performer is happening to me. It's over with. It's behind me. Now I can get on with it." So he kept on singing. Finally the drunk wandered off, and as he left he dropped a $10.00 bill into the guitar case.


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 11:04 PM



    On the platform of the Washington stop of the O'Hare line of Cicago's CTA, last Saturday,there was a short, middle-aged Hispanic man making remarkable music in a most remarkable way.

    He was playing a twelve-string guitar and a fiddle. The fiddle was attached to the neck of the guitar and the bow attached to his wrist. When he came to a rest, in a given piece of music, on the guitar he would reach up to do a one or two note fill with the fiddle.
Meanwhile, he was whistling the main melody and dancing (he wore tap shoes, so that the dancing added to the music).

    Before you ask, the answer is "YES"! Your darned right I dropped some money in his case. I'd have done that just for hearing the twelve-string used in a Spanish context (that sound alone was amazing). What grabbed me was the fact that he was very good at each of the things that he was doing. When done together the effect was nothing short of miraculous and wonderful. Talk about the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: GUEST,hoonio
Date: 01 Oct 02 - 03:17 AM

In the early 80's a girlfriend and I met up with a couple of musicians in a youth hostel in Dublin and we decided to go out busking. There was a Hurling championship going on, lots of people out in the streets. Made a good bit of change, the unlikely four of us, an English and a German lad (both guitarists) and two American lasses (she on fiddle and I singing and dancing a bit) playing (mostly) Irish music on the streets of Dublin. You all know, of course, it's considered good luck to give money to buskers! (And not just for the buskers!)


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: Leadfingers
Date: 01 Oct 02 - 07:09 PM

Not quite busking,but two or three of you with instruments and voices
can do quite well for free drinks on the Inland Waterways in England.
The Canalside pubs are generally in favour of a bit of live music.
However the drinks run a bit short when there are thirty odd of you
in four narrow boats.


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: GUEST,MrBlue
Date: 02 Aug 10 - 11:12 AM

Once, years ago, i travelled to England. I generally lived from busking while i was there for 2 years. Alot of that busking was done on an electric guitar with a bass string on it, in Nottingham. Between the broadmarsh centre, and 'the lions'. Once, on a freezing monday, near the end of the school holidays, a swarm of about 13 kids, housing commision kids, 11 years old at a guess, approached me, and circled around me, and pulled out cans of what appeared to be spray deoderant. I HATE that stuff. I told them "Don't even think about it" and they all lunged and sprayed me, DOUSED me really, in what in fact turned out to be 'Fart spray'. Obtainable from a joke/gag shop near you. One of them even set fire to the spray and i then discovered the true woe of being right in the firing line of a fart-spray flame thrower. Idiots. I became furious and leapt to my feet and began flailing my arms about and they all ran off.
   I tried to resume busking, but the smell was nothing to be reckoned with. I stunk like i could only smell like months after my own death. I packed up and made for the Bus station, and waited, stinkingly, for the 1A to bridgeford.
On the bus, i looked around, to see all the folks looking around and flaring their nostrils with expressions of much nausia. And i didn't blame them at all, so, i joined in, as though i wondered where that pong was coming from too.


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: Green Man
Date: 03 Aug 10 - 09:15 AM

Wonderful!


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Subject: RE: A Busker's Tale
From: gnu
Date: 03 Aug 10 - 03:18 PM

MrBlue... how horrifying!


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Subject: RE: JIM COUZA
From: GUEST,KAREN COUZA
Date: 07 Aug 10 - 06:25 AM

We are doing it all over again at yew tree whitchurch on the 21st of august 2010. from around 12 till its over . Every thing is organized for that date and the whole family is looking forward to a garden filled with music and laughter with everyone swapping memories of Jim and remembering him through the music that played such an important part of his life ….and I know that some where against that fantastic backdrop of friends and family a great man will be sitting next to each and every one of us shaking his head in disbelief that so many people still hold him in such high esteem that we have all got together again to celebrate his life.

It will be great to welcome you all again… old friends and new on the 21st the more the merrier. food (barbeque) and drinks will be on tap as before and any help with them would be greatly appreciated .So lets get the ball rolling and the more of Karen and Jims friend that are there the better it will be !!! I still have all the e-mail addresses of everyone so I will send out the invites from here as well ,I am sure that if they all overlap with yours it wont matter too much , I will try and get a few announcements on radio 2 folk as well and I will also wiz off an e-mail to nme.

Please keep in touch; I think that this year is as important to Karen as last year's celebrations So the more friends that can make it the better it will be. The only things to bring is yourselves and your instruments . Please pass this on to as many of Jims old friends as possible .

Thank you so much perhaps mudcat can do something too.

Love to you all Karen, John and the entire family x


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Subject: London Buskers
From: GUEST,John Vanek
Date: 24 Aug 11 - 07:08 AM

London buskers are featured on the website www.londonbusker.com
London Buskers


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