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Busking is begging?

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Subject: Is busking just begging?
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Jul 04 - 12:14 PM

I get the impression that the idea that street busking for money is generally thought in the UK to be begging.

I also have the inpression that in other parts of the world it is thought to be a legitimate way of displaying one's musical talents and a means of being rewarded for this?


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 28 Jul 04 - 12:16 PM

yes - I suspect most people in the US would consider it begging - but a good chunk would realize it's a display of talent in exchange for (hopefully) gratuitious payment.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,scratchy-bow
Date: 28 Jul 04 - 12:23 PM

It isn't in my opinion. In fact it's a good way to improve your playing ability and repertoire.

Begging it is not, in particular, if you are playing or singing well and generally adding to the overall character of an area.

In tourist areas it could be considered an advantage.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Jul 04 - 12:30 PM

Interesting remark about the tourist areas as comments in the following thread that prompted this one. Things planned for Sidmouth 50


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: alanabit
Date: 28 Jul 04 - 12:48 PM

It all depends on the attitude of the performer. If someone goes out hopefully punting away on an instrument or looking gormless while juggling three clubs and doing nothing to make a show, I am afraid it is begging.
I have always had time for those who started off bad but wanted to improve. We were all bad at first. Those who work hard to entertain to the best of their ability are certainly not beggars. What do you call those people who have pockets full of money, who watch a show from start to finish and then slink away at the end without paying anything. What right do they have to call anyone beggars?


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: BanjoRay
Date: 28 Jul 04 - 12:57 PM

You watch the show till you reach the point here you think it's worth a contribution. If it isn't, you don't.

Ray


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: alanabit
Date: 28 Jul 04 - 01:00 PM

Exactly. So I wonder why some people have the damned nerve to watch a show for over half an hour and then say, "It's not worth paying for..."


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Acme
Date: 28 Jul 04 - 01:07 PM

One of the reasons I love walking around in New York City in the evenings in summer is because of the number of street-corner buskers. And it is such an eyeopener as to who is out there. I learned early on to ignore stereotypes. Imagine my surprise one evening in Greenwich Village as I watched several young black men unpack a few instruments, waiting to hear what modern jazz they might perform--only to have them open with some marvelous chamber music! You'll find about everything out there. It adds to the richness of any community, and is in no way shape or form "begging."

We had Marion here in Fort Worth for a couple of days on her busking tour, and it was a challenge to find good places. She told us that a woman approached her on the street who had lived elsewhere and missed the busking activity of her home town. The woman even suggested a good corner for Marion to try. That's nice to know.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,Blackcatter
Date: 28 Jul 04 - 04:11 PM

Here in Orlando, FL, a few years back they passed a law that made begging illegal. Before it was overturned by the courts, what happened was that several of the beggars because doing frankly stupid things and calling themselves street performers. At the time you didn't need a liscense to be a stret performer. Because of the the men who were trying to "beat the system," Street performing was nearly outlawed as well. Now, you not only need a liscense, you can only doing in certain lplaces and for only a short period of time (the liscenses are set up for specific events, such as a public performance in the band shell) You cannot lay out your hat for $$.

Since the begging law was overturned, the city set up "blue zones" Spraypainted areas about 30 feet square in a few places in Downtown. People are allowed to beg in those spots only. Street performers are still restricted even more than that.

Politicians are stupid.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Don Firth
Date: 28 Jul 04 - 04:23 PM

Just last Sunday afternoon (7/25/04), I was up on 15th Avenue East near the Café Ladro, across from the QFC (Capitol Hill in Seattle), when I encountered a fellow playing a cheap but serviceable imitation of a Martin D-Model and singing. His guitar playing was simple but adequate (straight chords with an occasional bass run), and he had a quite a good singing voice, especially for country and western songs.

The Café Ladro converts to a sidewalk café when the weather is good. Since the sun was shining and the temperature was in the low eighties, there was a fair number of people to provide an audience. They were obviously enjoying his performance, so I leaned against a parking meter and hung around a bit. One of the fellows sitting at a table kept requesting Johnny Cash songs, all of which the young busker was able to provide. He also tossed in several other songs, well-known and obscure. One couple there had a little girl with them, maybe about four-years-old (cute, big eyes, ribbons in her dark hair, blue dress and black Mary Jane shoes). She was having fun. She watched and listened to the singer intently. Café Ladro patrons would hand her dollar bills for the busker, and she made frequent trips to drop them into the metal plate he had by his guitar case. Without being so nosey and crude as to try to do a precise eyeball count of his take, I took note that there was quite a salad of ones there, garnished with a fair amount of change, and I could see at least one fiver in the mix. He was doing pretty well.

After a while, he took a break and I talked to him a bit. He'd been playing and singing for twelve years, he told me, and he was self-taught on the guitar (I noticed that some of his chord fingerings were a little weird, but they worked). His repertoire consisted mostly of country songs: lots of Johnny Cash (although he had to up the key, because his voice wasn't as deep as Johnny Cash's), Brad Paisley, Clint Black, and others. "How many songs do I know? Well, at least 250, maybe as many as 300. I'm learning new ones all the time." I told him that I was in the thick of the folk music, coffeehouse scene back in the Sixties. He offered me his guitar and asked me if I'd like to sing. I demurred, saying, "It's your audience. I don't want to cut in." He told me that he'd had to borrow the guitar he was using from a friend. "Somebody stole my good guitar," he said. I sympathized, saying, "That sounds like the opening line of a good country song." He laughed and agreed, pulled out a small notebook (I could see it contained a long list of song titles) and wrote a note to himself.

I was just returning from the grocery store and I had to get home, but as I started to leave I remembered that I had two dollars and some change in my jacket pocket where I'd stuffed it as I emerged from check-out. I fished out the two dollar bills and dropped them into his plate. "Hey, thanks!" he said. "I really appreciate that." "Gotta support the profession," sez I. I waved and took off for home. He picked up the guitar and started to sing again.

Hell's bells! For years I had regular jobs singing in coffeehouses and clubs (for negotiated regular pay, not for tips, although I got a lot of those, too), and I did folk festivals, concerts, and television. But seeing and listening to that young guy made me wish I was his age again and doing what he was doing. I was inspired. When I got home, I pulled out my guitar and practiced for a couple of hours.

Busking is offering a service. You can accept or not, and you're free to pay something for it?or not. It isn't begging. It's an age-old tradition. Minstrels and troubadours (many of whom provided the more ancient songs and ballads that we sing today), if they were not lucky enough to be working in a castle or manor-house for a rich patron, would make their way by singing in the town square, hoping that the people they entertained would toss them a few coppers. Not begging.

Standing outside the 7/11, accosting people, asking them if they have any spare change, and offering nothing in return but a well-rehearsed woeful expression?now that is begging.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: AggieD
Date: 28 Jul 04 - 04:36 PM

Perhaps I've just had a bad experience of buskers, a lot of them that I've heard are just terrible, & just stand strumming a battered old guitar & mumbling a few unintelligble words. I call that no better than begging. Yes I have heard the odd 1 or 2 performers who are very good, but just why are they out there with a case in front of them that has been primed with money if they aren't begging, no matter how well they perform. If they are just out there to improve their performance they shouldn't feel that they have to extract cash from people.

If we as dancers collect cash every single penny goes to charity. It was something that we decided to do a long time ago, as we felt that we didn't want to beg money from people just to go into our own pockets.

And yes I have given money to street performers if I think they are
putting on a good show.

Unfortunately what one person thinks is a good show another will think is rubbish. Yes I do agree that if people stand & watch for half an hour then condemn something they are being rather stupid, but as you say people should have the freedom to chose. Why should they be expected to pay if the perfomer(s) are not begging for the money, just playing to improve their performance, or to get across their love of the music? They should just go out & do it.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Betsy
Date: 28 Jul 04 - 05:14 PM

I've done busking in Europe and I was doing it for money for a few beers and to help out with some money and food for my flat mates - no more no less.
Put on a performance / sing the right songs the money will flood in .
After all , I wasn't mugging anyone, selling drugs or anything nasty , I already had this easy way of making a few Quid (Bucks) relatively quickly by making people feel good albeit for a short while - and I always tried to say (or show/indicate if in the middle of a song ) a thankyou for all contributions.
It's all a matter of fair exchange - nowadays, I always give to a decent busker or to the busker who looks as if he's /she's really trying to give the bypasser or listener some value or pleasure.
To the introverts and mumblers - I give nothing - but, I believe that trend existed when I was doing my bit on the pavements and sidewalks.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Shanghaiceltic
Date: 28 Jul 04 - 05:19 PM

If I see and hear a good busker I will put something in the hat. It is not begging as far as I am concerned.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Jul 04 - 05:21 PM

Sorry AggieD, I can't quite follow the logic of this. It appears that collecting money for your performance is OK as long as you don't actually need the money collected or if it goes to someone else.

I am not knocking collecting for charity but if you are dancing for the fun of it and to improve - why should people be expected to pay you as performers (wherever the money eventually ends up)? Why do you not also just go out and do it?


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Blackcatter
Date: 28 Jul 04 - 05:29 PM

And most Buskers don't expect everone to pay them. It's kind of nice, actually.

I've paid $5 to go into a restaurant to listen to live music that wasn't worth the $5. At least on the street, if I don't like the performance, I'm going to pay anything. Plus, I am often hurting for money myself and it's nice to know that I can listen and just drop in a few quarters or something.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jul 04 - 05:43 PM

Apart from the licensed buskers on underground stations the ones you are most likely to encounter in London are the teams of beggers who work through tube trains with one of their number squeezing two notes out of an old piano box.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Kudzuman
Date: 28 Jul 04 - 05:53 PM

Just got back from Anchorage, Alaska and there was a couple of guys there playing some really good blues. Guitar and Tub Bass (the tub bass guy was amazingly good!! ) We were heading of to catch a plane so I only got to listen for about 5 minutes. I dropped a fiver in the case and wished 'em well. They were making music....what's that worth to you? It's better than making war, eh what?

Kudzuman


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Blackcatter
Date: 28 Jul 04 - 05:59 PM

Yes. Would it be so horrible if buskers were the millionaires?


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jul 04 - 06:13 PM

yes it is begging so get off your fat arse and get a real fecking job.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Peace
Date: 28 Jul 04 - 06:14 PM

I started out in Greenwich Village's basket houses. I performed for about four or five sets a night and then passed the hat. You want to learn how to work an audience, that was the way. I had evenings where I made as little as two or three bucks. Had some others where I made over $50. One night I got a basket with a hundred dollar bill in it. I'd never seen one before. I held onto it for about thirty-two minutes. That paid rent where I lived for over two months. Sometimes ya win, sometimes ya lose and sometimes ya play in the rain.

Busking is the street version of the basket house. I never felt like I was begging. There is certainly a 'market economy' at work when one is playing--or maybe a market economy at play when one is working--but begging it is not.

I learned that if I was gonna take requests, it would be a good thing to know the regular requests very well. Occasionally, it took me outta my comfort zone, but hungry bellies don't really care a helluva lot about 'artistic integrity' (whatever THAT is). If an older couple wanted to hear "A Bicycle Built for Two", I could do that. And if someone wanted "Sheila" by Tommy Roe, I could do that also. I even did "Walk, Don't Run" one evening, strumming that great Am, G, F, E progression and using my voice to imitate the lead guitar. I got the people who had asked for the song to do the drum break, and we had lotsa laughs and a heckuva good time. There was an older Village lady who used to come in and ask for this or that song from her younger days, and I learned most that she requested. She couldn't afford to put anything into the basket, but every now and then she brought this starvin' young performer some home-cooked food or pie, and I thought I'd died and gone to heaven, because there were times my stomach thought my throat had been cut.

To quote a comedian I heard on a TV show years back, "Them's mean streets for a wiener dog in a cardigan." Yep, them's true words. It is also true that buskers offer their art for people's consideration, whether that be in the form of their voice, playing, performance or whatever. It isn't begging to produce a product and offer it for sale. The side benefit is that there is a Darwinian process at work, and ya learn to adapt or ya won't be at it for all that long.

It takes a serious set of cajones to put your talent on the line that way, and I admire people who have the 'brass' to do just that.

Bruce Murdoch


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Blackcatter
Date: 28 Jul 04 - 06:19 PM

Nice to hear that story Bruce.

I've been doing walking historical and ghost tours in Downtown Orlando for the past 4 years. Sure I charge up front, but I have a money back policy. "If you don't think you got $10 worth of enjoyment/information in the past 90 minutes, let me know, I'll be happy to give the cash back.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 28 Jul 04 - 08:34 PM

This argument has been going on for along time - The full text of (the Elizabethan) Harman's Epistle to the Reader from
Rogues, Vagabonds & Sturdy Beggars is here. Also look at the link (at the bottom of the page) to the review. There was a 1531 regulation passed by Queen Elizabeth - which is where the term 'Sturdy beggars" come from.

It seems there is some agreement in this current thread about the intent and (musical for musicians cause this is a music forum) ability of the performers. Strictly speaking, being paid by a 'patron' such as a business or a council means that you are not a real busker.

This Google Search also brings up the group called Sturdy Beggars. It also currently finds a copy of the original regulation.

Robin


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 28 Jul 04 - 08:49 PM

The 1531 act was punishment for 'behaving improperly'. Those who were regarded as being fit enough to work for a living but who chose instead to try to beg for food or money were branded as 'sturdy beggars', and were given a very hard time if caught. It didn't seem to matter much whether they were 'mugging', or 'performing' or anything in between, even including criminal activity (including the 'coney'** game) - people's attitudes don't seem to have changed much.

Robin

** 'Ferrets' were used to track down 'coneys' in the 'warrens' where they lived and worked. A Coney was a female rabbit, so you can guess what these 'sturdy beggar' ladies were doing...


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 12:52 AM

It's not begging. Most of the time it's a job. And everybody learns on the job, I don't care what it is.
My busking days were the best training I could have had for being a fulltime performer over the last 3o-odd years.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Marion
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 01:06 AM

In case anyone's wondering, the woman I met in Fort Worth was nostalgic for the buskers of Boston. I did notice in my travels that there were more a lot more buskers in the northern US than the south (not counting New Orleans in that generalization).

Marion


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 01:12 AM

Busking today is yet another link on the long chain of that tradition. It will be that (a grand old tradition) no matter what value judgments we put on it here for whatever reasons. That's how I see it.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Ellenpoly
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 04:26 AM

Busking has a long tradition and I hope it's never outlawed by stupid policy makers.

Begging is asking for money and giving nothing in return. This is sad, and I think harmful to one's soul to have to do. I have a friend who when asked for spare change, replies that he will gladly exchange some for anything given in return...a song, a poem, something to make it an exchange of "gifts". I like that, though I know on occasion he's gotten some funny looks, and sometimes not so funny retorts.

Busking can be quite wonderful or really awful. As long as I have a choice to stay and listen, or walk away, I'm fine.

I only have difficulty if I've standing in line for something and I'm being "busked at" with no control over for how long or how close I'll have to be to the performer. This can be truly annoying.

I only wish I had more money to pass along to those who have brightened my days...

..xx..e


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: pavane
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 06:55 AM

Back in the 1800's, police in the UK banned a lot of traditional customs (Straw Bears, Plough Jacking etc) as a form of begging.
(listen to Rattlebone & Ploughjack album)

The new licencing laws in UK (from next year? - see PEL threads) will probably make it (even more?) illegal.

They had to specifically exempt Morris dancers, and last I heard there was still a problem for circuses.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Pied Piper
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 07:10 AM

When you busk, you give before you receive, no one is emotionally blackmailed into giving, and what they give is entirely up to them.
How many people with "proper jobs" can say that?
PP


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: CharleyR
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 07:24 AM

I consider the term 'begging' to mean asking for money and offering nothing in return. I think to answer the question as to whether busking is a form of begging we need to distinguish between two types of 'busker' - there are the tramps/homeless/whoever who have got hold of a penny whistle or a guitar and sit there producing random notes from the instrument and who probably normally just beg without an instrument and are trying to vary their techniques, and there are musicians, people who have musical ability and have made the effort to work out a repertoire of quality music that can really be enjoyed by an audience and who also pay attention to their audience through their presentation and saying thank you for contributions whenever possible. It doesn't take much brain power to distingush one from the other and to tell a beggar from a performer.

I have busked a lot over the past couple of years, and as a student, earning money is one of the main incentives for me, but so is the enjoyment, you get to interact with people, you're out in the fresh air (great when the weather's good, anyway) and you're out there doing what you enjoy, and I would much prefer to do that than to work exhausting 8 hour shifts in a bar for less than the national minimum wage (being under 22 years old), which is my only credible alternative way of earning at the moment. We have also got quite a few gigs out of it from people who heard us and liked our music. It's a good feeling when you say thank you to people when they put some coins in the case and they say thank you to you for the music they've enjoyed listening to and that has cheered them up or made their shopping trip more enjoyable. We always make sure never to play to 'captive audiences' wherever possible, e.g. people sitting outside cafes, people in queues or near to shops where the shop assistants would be able to hear us. If people want to listen, they can do, if they don't want to, they can carry on. We don't go up to people and ask them for money, we play our music and if people want to contribute, they can do, but we never make people feel pressured to do so, therefore I do not consider busking to be begging. There are people out there who also consider Big Issue (homeless magazine) sellers to be beggers, although they too are not asking for something for nothing, they are trying to earn money by selling a product.

I went to Cologne yesterday and heard some fantastic buskers outside the cathedral, there were 3 accordians and a contrabass balalaika, they were playing organ pieces and each of them took a part and together they made a great sound. I tend to have high standards when it comes to music, being a player myself, but I stood and listened to these guys for about 10 minutes and then gave them some money as I really enjoyed their music, they were obviously talented musicians and they certainly made my day more eventful and added to the atmosphere of the place. I certainly would not like to think that these people and other performers like them were considered to be of the same level as the people who stop you in town and ask you to give them money for no good reason.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: The Shambles
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 08:50 AM

Apart from the licensed buskers on underground stations the ones you are most likely to encounter in London are the teams of beggers who work through tube trains with one of their number squeezing two notes out of an old piano box.

Although I do not consider busking to be begging, for most of the reasons already expressed - I have experienced this on the London Underground and have some concerns with this practice. Although the box player was slightly more acomplished than just having two notes - I did not welcome being confronted by the other member of the team, who came up to where I was sitting to thrust a collecting box in my face. If a big ugly chap like me was intimidated by this, I am quite sure that many others will be.

I would probably still not consider this to be begging but I can understand why some people would but I certainly would not consider it to be good busking practice either. Although I am sure a lot of money will be collected using it - I fear that most of it not due to how much the passengers will have appreciated the box player's musical talents. Which is the only reason that folk should contribute.

Perhaps it is up to buskers to always ensure by their actions that their busking could never be considered as begging?


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,Jim Knowledge
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 11:56 AM

I `ad a beggar in my cab once just after `ed done the night shift in London. `e said spare tuppence for a cup of cha, guvnor. I gave `im fourpence and said, at that price you can get me one an` all.
What am I like?


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 03:03 PM

*Great* stories from CharleyF and Bruce Murdoch!

I especially enjoyed Bruce's bit about scat-singing the Ventures' lead guitar part over the chords and getting the crowd to do the drum part. What a kick! I've done that type of thing with friends, in a private-party context, but don't remember scatting instrumental parts out on the street. *Maybe* I did once or twice -- I used to play really long hours, and would get pretty delirious at times.

For a while, I did keep a kazoo in a wire-coat-hanger holder hung around my neck so that I could hum/play "instrumental breaks" and other parts I was unable to produce any other way. Gave it up because I couldn't/wouldn't use it for every song (not even for most songs), and as I began to put in longer and longer hours, it became increasingly cumbersome.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: jimmyt
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 04:06 PM

This has been a very fun thread to read, and after spending a lot of time reading so much negative crap below the line it has been really refreshing to actually read real stories and information and not backbiting and naysaying.

I love buskers, and have always wished I had ever had an opportunity to try it. I am sure I glamorize it in my mind and it is probably lots of very hard work with little pay but I still wish I had taken the opportunity to 1)busk 2)bartend 3) be a waiter when I was younger. I always try to support buskers and frequently buy their CDS if they have them. I think making music is a noble cause, however good or mediocre at it you are.

I was in Asheville NC a few months ago and there was a button box player working outside a cafe where my wife and I were having lunch. By the time the waiter had taken our orders, I looked up and he was talking to a passer by and next thing I knew he was gone. I had hoped to give him some money for his wonderful music, and when I saw him walking down the street a couple hours later I stopped him and gave him a five. He was most surprised when I told him I had enjoyed his music earlier and hadn't had a chance to do it before he had left.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 04:07 PM

Shambles, the tradition of having someone collect for the performer is called 'bottling.'
Much like a barker or shill at a carnival or sideshow.
It is an old and respected tradition that seems to be falling out of favor because of the experience you had in the subway.
When I busked years ago, I had a 'bottler,' a very witty Dubliner who could charm the coins out of peoples' pockets as he passed the hat.
Many times, buskers will use pretty young ladies/wives/sweethearts to bottle for them.
Appearance and attitude matter when bottling, and a threatening mien - even if the bottler is the nicest person on earth - will have an adverse effect on the take.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 04:08 PM

By the way, where is InObu on this thrread? This is right up his alley.
Seamus


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,reggie miles
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 09:00 PM

After a long vacation from the art form I've recently spent some time busking both at a festival where they allowed such activities and at a local market where it is regulated. I guess I've gotten a little soft in my time away because I don't remember it being such hard work. It also happened to be the very hottest days of the summer thus far. I was completely drenched by the time I had finished each set and unfortunately not very well received at the market, even though I was playing to the very best of my ability. I'm certain the heat of the day had something to do with the general lack of interest by those passing. Well, if nothing else, it was good excercise, and If you can work up a sweat with a good set of music, it certainly must be healthy for the ol' cardio-vascular and cardio-respiratory systems.

Reggie - still catching my breath - Miles


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Deckman
Date: 29 Jul 04 - 09:36 PM

HEY!!! ... I know the difference between busking and begging. The very LAST time I begged ANYTHING, I woke up married!!! CHEERS, Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: alanabit
Date: 30 Jul 04 - 12:33 PM

Cripes! Remind me to stick to busking Bob!


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Nerd
Date: 30 Jul 04 - 12:37 PM

What Marion notes above is too bad; most of the great early bluesmen spent time busking in the south. They used to set up a soap-box on the corner and play, and sometimes a rival would go to the opposite corner to "cut head" or steal his audience. It's sad that well's dried up. (On the other hand, it might just mean good blues musicians can go straight to club gigs now.)


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: breezy
Date: 30 Jul 04 - 03:12 PM

is begging the same as busking?


nah


so thats it


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Jul 04 - 06:54 PM

Shambles, the tradition of having someone collect for the performer is called 'bottling.'
Much like a barker or shill at a carnival or sideshow.
It is an old and respected tradition that seems to be falling out of favor because of the experience you had in the subway.


No problem with someone collecting for the performer. It was just the nature of this operation. Perhaps some more details will help explain exactly my concerns?

The two enter the compartment and stay there until the next stop. These stops present the only opportunity for the buskers, or indeed anyone else from leaving until the train stops, as there are connecting doors but these are strictly only to be used in an emergency.
The time between stops will vary between 3 minutes or could be as long as 30 minutes. 5 - 10 minutes would be the norm however. For this period the bottler or bagman will make a point in this time of approaching everyone sitting in the compartment.

The passenger knows that should they chose not to contribute, when the bottler stands over them and presents the bag to them, that they will have to share to compartment with these two, until the next stop. Now if there are a few other passengers present, it is probably not too threating a situation but if there are few or you are on your own, perhaps it could with some justification be thought more than a little intimidating? That is why I say that the money collected here is probably not generally due to how much the passengers have enjoyed the music and not good busking practice.

I am not by any means a regular traveller on the 'tube' these days, so I have no idea how common a practice this is. My experience was a couple of years ago and took place in the middle of the day when the train was stopping outside in some of the less frequented stations. The same areas, late at night would be even more potentially intimidating.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Bobert
Date: 30 Jul 04 - 10:14 PM

Think about it this way. How many hours have you worked at crafting your skills? For most of it is thousands and thousands of hours. I've been working on mine since 1964 and continue to work on them. Now, like anyone who has worked to rein in a set of skills, I am entitled to be compensated for my skills should I take them to the streets. Entitled doesn't mean I expect everyone to be appreciative because some will have different tastes in music but...

... fir those who might stop, listen, appreciate then compensation is like one hand washing the other.

BTW, I haven't busked in 30 years but that doesn't change my opinion.

Bobert


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: breezy
Date: 31 Jul 04 - 04:18 PM

do you mean 'compensation'?

Thats what you get when you sue, or lose earnings.

I dont think you mean compensation.

I think 'a reflection of your ability to communicate via a musical media' would be a more suitable way of describing the act of receiving reward for such efforts.

In the tube I would state that I would wish to hear further before contributing and probably 'sorry no change' would be another line.
also
i'm a musician compared to this, how about me doing a number and you pay me.
also
you should pay us for listening

also

well I'm sure you could make up your own, I would probably follow em around and annoy em if I felt they were out of order.

once chatted to a busker who set up n with a very loud amp and engaged him in conversation for a long time.
They I played along with him from a distance of 30 metres as he did, -yes you guessed- bob dylan

i can play along with morris dancers too, as long as their drummer can keep a reasonably steady beat


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Jul 04 - 07:08 PM

While traveling with my family in the west of Ireland a few years ago, we saw buskers in nearly every town, from guiter players to pennywhistlers to fiddlers. I stopped and listened to every single one, and threw in a few bills each time as well. My mother, who is herself an amateur pianist, asked me why I was encouraging "those beggars." I gave her an earful.

Isn't it obvious that perfoming music is a great art, an exhilerating means of human interaction and expression? Here in the states, too many people look down their noses at buskers. Anybody who loves the arts should be grateful for a chance to see live, experimental performances up close ...


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 01 Aug 04 - 12:45 AM

"i can play along with morris dancers too, as long as their drummer can keep a reasonably steady beat"

How do youknow you've got a drummer at the front door?

The knocking speeds up...


Re Shambles's comment on tube 'buskers'

"do you mean 'compensation'?"

... sounds more like 'compulsation'...

:-)


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 01 Aug 04 - 11:58 AM

In the US, at least, the word "compensation" is often used as synonymous with "wages" or "payceck," etc. -- it doesn't always have to mean "something to compensate for not getting regular pay," like welfare, unemployment, etc.

So, breezy -- Bobert was correct to use the word in the context in which he did (at least in American English, which I believe is his native tongue). It's interesting to note that it might seem to be incorrect in UK usage.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: breezy
Date: 01 Aug 04 - 04:22 PM

no he wasnt, compensation means 'making up for something lost' - redressing a balance

perhaps something did get lost in American speak and thats why the worlds in the shit

I like the word 'compulsation', does the heart beat faster?

bye!!!


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 01 Aug 04 - 06:01 PM

With a big thug with teeth missing leaning over you shaking a money box, it probably does....


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Bobert
Date: 01 Aug 04 - 11:55 PM

Hey, breezy. I ain't all that hung up on the word. Who cares... You come up with the word that reflects one being "rewarded"?, "paid"?, you pick. Don't matter a rats butt to me... As long as it is understood that thousands of hours of work and preparation can and should be___________ to folks willing to share their sklls with the general public.

Bobert


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: jimmyt
Date: 02 Aug 04 - 07:44 AM

Glas to know exactly why the world's in shit!! Thanks for clearing that up for us.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: jimmyt
Date: 02 Aug 04 - 07:51 AM

According to MErriem Webster Dictionary. it can mean PAY.   as in you work, you receive compensation.(in the form of pay)


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 02 Aug 04 - 02:34 PM

Good to hear about this from all of you. I started out 37 years ago in the Village basket houses(shortly after Bruce Murdoch, who was one of my many mentors and role models back then). I then took my act to the streets, from Central Park and other spots in NYC all the way to California, with stops in hobo jungles bars, college campuses and every other place I found myself with a guitar and a few people willing to listen. Let's say it again-IT IS NOT BEGGING! Listen to Utah Phillips on the subject(see GAFFING on his CD LOAFERS GLORY). I just went at it again last month at the Oregon Country Fair for the first time in almost 25 years. I sang for 2 hours on Saturday without repeating myself and was proud of my achievement(even made a couple of bucks from tips and CD sales. When I was in my 20's I could sing all day and be heard 4 blocks away in New York City traffic. I can't go as long now or as loud but I can still do it, and will probably do it some more.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: breezy
Date: 02 Aug 04 - 03:02 PM

'rat's butt' I like that one, must use it sometime ,Thanks

4 blocks away?!, well there was probably no traffic then in them days.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,Blackcatter
Date: 02 Aug 04 - 04:08 PM

Here's a question. It maybe moot, as I'm not sure there's any place to busk in Central Florida, but here goes.

I sing. I don't play guitar, with or without singing. I play a bit of tin whistle, but my dexterity has always been limited in my hands so I don't play much. But I've got a good voice and know hundreds of songs, ones that are pretty popular in different generes. I do open mics all the time, with success, and occasionally sing in gigs with others who play instruments as well.

Question: Can a singer be appreciated by himself on the street corner? What do you all think? Would it be worth my time?


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 02 Aug 04 - 04:10 PM

I'm inclined to believe Mark *could* project his voice for four New York City blocks back in his younger days.

If he was working at it long and hard the way I was, and considering that he was young (20s) and presumably strong (of voice, at least, as I was, too) -- in other words, if he became an effective streetsinger -- he undoubtedly developed a fairly amazing degree of volume and resonance. Way more than one would ever achieve by staying indoors!

I didn't work Manhattan, but did spend plenty of time in noisy sections of New Orleans and San Francisco, and passersby often told me that they had heard me from blocks away, and were surprised at how far they had to walk before catching sight of me.

Couldn't do it today -- not nearly! I have to really admire Mark for getting back into it again after all these years.

By the way: as many times as I've posted to this thread, I never addressed the original question. OF COURSE it's not begging! -- unless you're not really busking, but just pretending to play music.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Peace
Date: 02 Aug 04 - 05:59 PM

Hey, Mark. Good on you for doin' that. Looking back, ya gotta admit that the ZigZag Cafe was probably the worst place to work. Roaches, long narrow club and POed mostly-drunk customers at 1:30 AM who paid three dollars for Cafe au Rhum only to find out it was rum flavoured and had as much relation to alcohol as Washington, DC, has to truth. Good places to learn, though. And I do recall hearing you somewhere near 14th Street and Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue) as I was approaching from a few blocks south. Your voice, your guitar and your harmonica.

Be good, Mark.

Bruce


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Blues=Life
Date: 02 Aug 04 - 09:56 PM

Jimmyt, you're absolutely right, and breezy is a little full of himself. Webster's defines compensation as

"3. anything given as an equivalent, or to make amends for a loss, damage, etc.; recompense; remuneration; pay."

This has become common usage in the States.

So I disagree with the narrow definition of "compensation means 'making up for something lost' - redressing a balance"

I also disagree with the snide comment, "perhaps something did get lost in American speak and thats why the worlds in the shit." Maybe the world's in the shit from pompous butt-heads who forgot to use their dictionaries before pontificating.

On the other hand, I got to agree with old Bobert and the West Ginny slide rule. I don't really give a rat's ass.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Bobert
Date: 02 Aug 04 - 10:25 PM

Hear, hear!!!

Well said, Blues=Life...

The Wes Ginny Slide Rule

(Bobert's watching TV but I'll tell him what you said during the next commercial...)


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 03 Aug 04 - 02:26 AM

So what did Blue=Life say during the next commercial?

Sorry, this should have gone in the TOMSQT thread...


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Blues=Life
Date: 03 Aug 04 - 11:14 AM

What I said during the next commercial is, That this is not a stupid question soley because buskers are often treated as beggars. I won't give beggars a nickle. A good busker, even if I don't have time to listen long, gets cold hard cash, because I appreciate both the effort in the performence, and the effort prior to the performance in attaining that level of skill. I need all the good karma I can accumulate, so I kick in for buskers.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: semi-submersible
Date: 03 Aug 04 - 12:25 PM

Foolstroupe (28 Jul 04 - 08:34 PM):
I don't see the busking connection very clearly in Harmon's Epistle to the Reader. He seemed to be discussing his use of newly coined terms like "cursitor," suggesting that "vagabond" was a new word once too, and incidentally reflecting on whether it would be taken as an insult.

Must we assume that vagabond includes bard? Or is there another document which shows this musician-vagabond link more clearly?

Maureen

P.S. I'm glad to pay (by donation) for entertainment that brightens my day. But re panhandlers: I'm usually carrying a snack for the family, so I offer to share our oats or oranges or whatever. I don't get many takers!


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 03 Aug 04 - 11:41 PM

That was just the intro - I had thought the whole text was there, but hey! I made a mistake!

The "Sturdy Beggars" concept - which included real musos as well as thieves and bullies and pros and pimps, and etc, seems to be a continuing meme in England & as a consequence (via migration) the USA. Perhaps this is where it started was what I was hinting at.

"I'm usually carrying a snack for the family, so I offer to share our oats or oranges or whatever. I don't get many takers"

One might be tempted to think this would sort (to pardon the pun) the wheat from the chaff, but some genuine sufferers may for real reason including embarrassment or food allergies refuse the offer of food - but I suspect that most refusals would be that they only want the money.

Robin


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,NH Dave
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 12:16 AM

We have a city square, or what passes for one, where musicians and even bands provide impromptu entertainment, usually with an open box or guitar case, business cards and very often with some CDs or Cassettes for sale. I personally welcome this, because I get a chance to hear performers whom I have not heard, and even buy their latest collection. By the same token, they get inexpensive exposure, and perhaps leads for paying gigs. Oddly enough there seems no limit to the variety of instruments being played. I have heard South and Central American bands, players of celtic and baroque music, flautists, and even the odd bagpiper. He generally plays well in the background, but perhaps not far enough for some.

From this, I place such work on the level of introductory albums, a chance to hear something new to me, and for them to advertise their abilities. From this it is plain to see that I don't consider this begging, although the merchants who pay thousands every month for storefronts in this popular location may well feel otherwise, although they're mostly annoyed with the hotdog and sausage carts that may well draw business away from their own coffee and snack shop.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: PennyBlack
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 03:53 AM

Begging:
a solicitation for money or food (especially in the street by an apparently penniless person)

busk

to play music or sing in a public place so that the people who are there will give money


Looks Like the answer must be yes - but Is there anything wrong with begging - collecting "Penny for the Guy", "Trick or Treat" (maybe thats Blackmail as well?),Charity Collections, Carol Singing and more fall into the same category.

UK changes in PEL laws will not make "Busking" illegal - they will just mean it will require a license (which street performances/collections require now, in most areas we've come across)


PB


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 07:56 AM

.. but wait! if you call it begging, does that mean you won't need a licence?


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 08:51 AM

UK changes in PEL laws will not make "Busking" illegal - they will just mean it will require a license (which street performances/collections require now, in most areas we've come across)

The present licenses (where they occur in the UK) are not the current Public Entertainment Licence, which is to go. These are local ones, most probably by-laws or ones issued for private property, like the London Underground.

However, the new law has the effect of making anyplace subject to the regulated entertainment permission requiring the new Premises Licence.
No one really knows how this is going to work - or indeed even if it can. I am sure that it will only make busking more complicated legally than it already is.

While it may be true that 'begging' may not appear to be classed as regulated entertainment. Calling one's music making 'begging' may clear you for the Licensing Act 2003 but will take you into yet more legislation.....


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: hesperis
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 11:40 AM

And actually calling it begging may undo centuries of tradition and attempts at educating people that it isn't begging, it's earning money for entertaining people in a public place.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: PennyBlack
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 01:52 PM

Of course the areas that don't issue a "license" to busk and don't have a bye-law to stop busking tend to have either a policy of Police Intervention on Obstruction or Noise pollution grounds or in some cases actually promote busking. Other problems arise (especially in our case) when the collecting is for charity and not personal gain when a collecting licence is required in all cases.

At present we have to make two applications (even 3in some cases)- 1 to collect for charity, 2 Permission to use the public highway for the collection (or permission from the landowner when in vacant shop doorway, or generally "off Street") and if we sell the badges/Roses (as a minimum donation is requested) A street trading license.

Under the "new" licensing guide lines "busking" in a public place will require a entertainment license which "should be held by the local council" so may not be a problem.

Our Voice has (and still is) raised against some of the changes and stupidity of some of the changes likewise the lame excuses for exemptions etc... e.g. our local Morris team will be able to dance and the musicians play for them - but let the mandolin player us a 5watt amp to raise his instrument so it can be heard alongside a bass drum and a license will be required. But we shall see what we shall see, and the fight can go on!

Re. Begging or not? the above entries were dictionary definitions and not mine;-) and as I said what's wrong with begging - an age old tradition and the base for many traditional songs. Maybe if people have to be educated to believe it's not begging work should be done on changing the dictionary definition to:

Busking:
The Art of obtaining money for entertaining in a Public Place.


then again a rose by any name would smell as sweet.


PB


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 02:07 PM

Our Voice has (and still is) raised against some of the changes and stupidity of some of the changes likewise the lame excuses for exemptions etc... e.g. our local Morris team will be able to dance and the musicians play for them - but let the mandolin player us a 5watt amp to raise his instrument so it can be heard alongside a bass drum and a license will be required. But we shall see what we shall see, and the fight can go on!

Not sure that the music for Morris is required to be non-amplified in order to be exempt - just that it is integral to the dancing. It appears to be a problem to play the same music - without the dancing, however, as that would require it to be licensed....


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Nathan in Texas
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 02:25 PM

A couple of points:

Many people are delighted to see buskers, few welcome beggers. When I vacation in Galveston, Texas, part of the fun is having a chance to busk on the sea wall. Last year a car pulled to the curb and a family piled out and took my picture. The parents said that their child had been disappointed with Galveston because she hadn't seen any street performers, and I had "made their day."

My accountant assures me that, for tax purposes, I can write off the expenses of my vacation if I report even a few bucks made busking.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: PennyBlack
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 02:36 PM

Just going off the quote in the last Tome I was sent from the DCMS - which appeared to be a straight print out of the Q&A web pages:-


"Morris dancing or anything similar, plus any unamplified live music that is 'integral' to the performance, will be completely exempt from licensing"


Hey but they don't always tell the truth - do they?

PB


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: PennyBlack
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 02:44 PM

Looks the same here as well

PB


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 02:56 PM

Morris dancing etc.
11 The provision of any entertainment or entertainment facilities is not to be regarded as the provision of regulated entertainment for the purposes of this
Act to the extent that it consists of the provision of ?
(a) a performance of morris dancing or any dancing of a similar nature or
a performance of unamplified, live music as an integral part of such a
performance, or
(b) facilities for enabling persons to take part in entertainment of a
description falling within paragraph (a).

Sorry Penny you are right and I been reading this stuff for far too long....

You could always argue that (b) would cover and exempt your amplified mandolin or PA...


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: hesperis
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 03:03 PM

Well, begging gets a lot more annoying than music, especially if they come up to your face, or start telling you to give them more. (I was usually able to shake those ones off very quickly by explaining that I wasn't exactly well off, but sheesh.)

I've never had a problem when giving food to a beggar though. But some people have told me that they've had to be careful when accepting food because sometimes there were nasty things in the food. I guess I look trustworthy or something.

I guess giving to beggars can be considered a service to the soul and they provide the opportunity for that as their part of the deal.

But at the same time musicians are doing something valuable and trying to earn a living, beggars are mostly just sitting there and trying to make people feel guilt or pity enough to give, unless the beggars are trying to entertain as well. An important difference.

I know someone who had this beggar near where he worked demand that he give the beggar his $10 lunch money instead of just the dollar he gave... the beggar in question claimed that his car had broken down in front of the government building and he was trying to make enough money to go to another city. Guess what... that was last year and now this year the same guy's car has inexplicably "broken down" in front of the very same building.

If the begging is for a specific reason rather than pure greed on the part of the beggar, then fine. Some people really are in need. But the beggar needs to be honest about it, and not pushy or mean. And it's still different from entertaining people with a skill like music or dance or fire-breathing.

I dislike giving money to people who aren't trying at all to improve their lives, who are JUST trying to exist on the generousity and guilt of others and who do not give anything back. Maybe I'm ungenerous that way - maybe that's because I've always tried to give something back, which immediately makes it not begging.

Some beggars I knew in Toronto would be quite entertaining. Some would be pushy or mean... I gave a woman a dollar once and then didn't have any money the next week I was there, she was very pushy, following me for half a block. I also began to suspect she was using the money for drugs.

Anyway, there really is a difference between entertaining and begging, enough so that you can tell which one it is.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: PennyBlack
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 07:37 PM

Shambles - tell me about it! There's been so much said and done no wonder we're all confused but letters are still going out and MPs locally certainly recognise my handwriting.

We actually used the mandolin example in an email to DCMS and they came back with a resounding "no it would require a license" - but at least they put it in Black and White and didn't hum and ha like they have been doing.

I noticed that a lot more has been confirmed in the Q&A pages included Live transmissions not requiring a license but Video Recordings will - still wonder if Action Replays will need a license :-)

Sorry we've drifted off topic - so....

I've met some "Beggars" that have been more entertaining than "Buskers".

How many "Buskers" out there put in Tax returns?


PB


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Aug 04 - 10:42 PM

YES!!!


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Bobert
Date: 07 Aug 04 - 08:34 AM

I beg to differ, GUEST!

As I have pointed out, artists are entitled to be compensated (Paid, if you will) for their many years of training. But beyond that...

...there is an unspoken contract involved in busking that both tne artist and the listener understand. Buskers don't actively appraoch the listener as do beggers but set up in areas where the listener makes the active decsion to take the time to atop, listen and appreciate. It is the listener who is actively decides wheteher or not to become involved in the appreciation of the art that the busker, much less actively is offering. It almost like a gallery or museum, but with less overhead, that is open to the public and has a donation box. And, as a museum or gallery, no one is going to arrest you or confront you should you choose to enjoy the art and not pay but most people do have a feeling that, as they have enjoyed the work that has gone into the art, they will make a small donation.

Busking is very much the same. Unlike begging, there is no unlying "guilt" that is being used to extort money from folks. Buskers don't put up sign that say, "Starving Vet" 'er "Homeless" 'er anything like that. If they did, then, yes, that would be begging, inspite of the music. But they don't.

I'm stickin with, "NO"!!!....

BObert


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: alanabit
Date: 07 Aug 04 - 09:50 AM

Bobert is right of course. I just admire his good mannered and well reasoned reply to the "Guest 06/08/04 at 1042", who by contrast had no manners, no reason and no name.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,Another stupid alias
Date: 07 Aug 04 - 11:40 AM

No Name? That is bloody rich on a board where almost everybody hides behind aliases.

By the way, unless you are busking on a licensed pitch then you are begging - thats the law.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: alanabit
Date: 07 Aug 04 - 02:09 PM

Previous "guest": I have never hidden behind my name here and my address and full name have appeared more than once. You have the damned rudeness to insult people you know nothing about without even giving yourself a name which can be identified with other posts.
On the subject of the law, it's authority on whether an activity is begging or not is pretty questionable anyway. In reality, busking is either restricted or not restricted by a complicated array of different laws. Licensed pitches exist in very few places and they are very rarely profitable. That is the case in the UK, in Germany and in most other European countries. I will let our American colleagues speak for themselves.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Peace
Date: 07 Aug 04 - 03:23 PM

How anyone can mistake busking for begging is beyond me. That would make every salesman/woman who does a 'cold call' a beggar. Sometimes I beg to differ, but this time I busk to differ.

Bruce M


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Blues=Life
Date: 07 Aug 04 - 08:06 PM

Penny, I'm not sure you understand the difference in the definitions.

Begging:
a solicitation for money or food (especially in the street by an apparently penniless person)

busk

to play music or sing in a public place so that the people who are there will give money

You equated these two. How about: "To work in a garage fixing cars so that the people who are there will give money." The only diffence here is the occupation and the location. Is this begging? No, this is working.
How about "To work in a public place fixing cars so that the people who are there will give money." I've paid mechanics to fix my dead at the side of the road car, while it was still at the side of the road. Is this begging? Once again, no, this is working, only here the only difference is the occupation.
There is a certain social contract inherent in busking. To play on the street, with an open guitar case (even if seeded with a few bucks) is NOT begging. There is an invitation to contribute if you like the music, and to walk if you don't.
Finally, it's not begging if for no other reason that a person who owns a guitar hardly qualifies as "an apparently penniless person."
So let's not only give the buskers a break, let's kick in some cash.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: PennyBlack
Date: 07 Aug 04 - 09:47 PM

Penny, I'm not sure you understand the difference in the definitions

Maybe not? - but I'm not sure you do either and I don't accept The Garage comment.


I don't expect to come back to my car parked on the street to find it's a had a full service without requesting it (however good the mechanic)and see a hat next to the mechanic saying "Thank you"

I also feel in a lot of cases the Busker Does give the impression of being penniless - if nothing else than the fact that they have a hat on the floor asking for money, often dress scruffy etc...

as I have read through the above many of the writers (even those who have opposed the Buskers begging theory) have made comments like "but it depends how well they play" etc. who decides that?

what it boils down to is they are there asking for money. As for a "social contract" - male cow excreta! Just excuses for Buskers worrying about the stigma that has become associated with the term "Begging"

I also haven't seen many Buskers coming forward stating that they make Tax returns? and although this wouldn't change my opinion that Busking is begging, it would convince me that Buskers actually believed they were doing a job of work and not just doing what they enjoyed doing and solicited money from passers by for doing so.

I still believe from the dictionary definitions that Busking is Begging and will do until someone comes up with a better argument than yours Blues=Life.

However I have not criticized either busking or begging.

I am Happy to state that we go busking/Begging every week to raise money for charity - because the money goes to charity doesn't change the fact that we are begging, because the audience appears to enjoy what we do doesn't change the fact we're begging, we have no contract, verbal written or Social we do what we enjoy doing and people throw money in a bucket we beg them to give us that money - and thank everyone of them for doing so.

PB


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Bobert
Date: 07 Aug 04 - 10:13 PM

Okay, PB, but I think you are splittin' hairs over definitions here...

I play at a farm and flea market just about every Sunday. Various venders set up, sell fresh produce or collectables. Most set up 10 X 10 tents. I do the same. There is no open guitar case. No tip jar. I do not look like a street person. I play sitting on a folding chair and frequently have a harmonica player with me. On any given Sunday people will walk by and find a place to leave a couple of bucks. Why? Well, back to the social contract that you insist does not exist. If it exists in the minds of folks walking thru a farm and flea market when I am only there to provide a certain Americana ambiance, then I would suggest that a "social" contrct is indeed understood by more folks than yourself. Most folks get it. Sorry you don't. Heck, I don't even consider myself busking but the public at large does feel a responsibility to support its artists...

Like I said, sorry that you feel diferently. Maybe artists should just get daytime jobs and whenever they are playing out and someone tries to pay a gratitude for their art, stop in thre middle of the song and tell those folks to suff it...

Geeze...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Acme
Date: 08 Aug 04 - 12:01 AM

I still believe from the dictionary definitions that Busking is Begging and will do until someone comes up with a better argument than yours Blues=Life.

However I have not criticized either busking or begging.


PennyBlack, the very nature of the argument you're making is a criticism of buskers and begging. And that's a lot of strident self-righteousness in your stated view of busking--after many here have already characterized the activity as work, not begging. By insisting that your understanding is the correct one you're not endearing yourself to members of this thread. You seem, instead, to be trying to justify your own performances in the name of charity. Are they so poor as to consitute a masquerade for begging? If the answer is "no" then why presume anyone else's performance is a masquerade?

The buskers I've seen over the years have appeared talented and in the context of street performance have generally been modestly and/or moderately dressed, to suit the vagarities of working on the street with total strangers all around. They want to call attention to their music, not generate value judgements regarding the cost of their clothes and whether they "deserve" to be rewarded for their performance. I expect that this must be a very careful consideration, along with making the choice to be a street performer in addition to or instead of getting a more culturally acceptable steady job.

And I would politely point out that whether a busker turns in a tax return or not is none of your business. Do you ask the wait person in the restaurant every time you eat if they declared all of their tips? Do you ask your hairdresser if he/she declares their tips, or if perhaps s/he cuts a little hair on the side (under the table)? Then why ask if buskers turn in tax returns? That's between buskers and their own consciences and their personal relationships with the tax offices.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Peace
Date: 08 Aug 04 - 12:47 AM

Regarding ANYONE paying taxes. I would LOVE to pay the same rate of tax that Enron did.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Peace
Date: 08 Aug 04 - 03:48 AM

"I still believe from the dictionary definitions that Busking is Begging and will do until someone comes up with a better argument than yours . . . ."

This do it for you?

I have auditioned for various things in my life: song writing contracts, recording contracts, teaching jobs, etc. Basically, I was doing what buskers. I wasn't begging. I was busking. Sometimes they liked my performance enough to hire (pay) me. Sometimes not.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: The Shambles
Date: 08 Aug 04 - 05:39 AM

The following is what Penny came up with:

Begging:
a solicitation for money or food (especially in the street by an apparently penniless person)

busk

to play music or sing in a public place so that the people who are there will give money.

Looks Like the answer must be yes - but Is there anything wrong with begging - collecting "Penny for the Guy", "Trick or Treat" (maybe thats Blackmail as well?),Charity Collections, Carol Singing and more fall into the same category.


It may look to Penny as if the answer is yes but I see nothing conclusive here. My little dictonary gives SOLICIT: ask earnestly for or seek or invite (of prostitute) accost (man) for imoral purposes.

Are buskers 'soliciting', in that sense? Do solicitors, solicit? All these words must remain, largely a matter of opinion. Sometimes these opinions (or prejudices) get put into by-laws etc and are created usually by people in conventional (and respectable) professions or those weathly enough not to need a profession at all. Again these are not conclusive - just indicitive of our social divisions and the reasons why some feel they need to beg and others judge this.

Perhaps buskers, beggars, street sellers and prostitutes would write a diferent dictionary?


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: PennyBlack
Date: 08 Aug 04 - 09:14 AM

Brucie: sorry but what are Buskers Auditioning for? I find it hard to accept that Busking is the same as going for an Interview.

The Shambles: So`lic`i`ta´tion
n. 1. The act of soliciting; earnest request; persistent asking; importunity.
2. Excitement; invitation; as, the solicitation of the senses.

Stilly River Sage: There are such things as Professional Beggars (or maybe all that do it to make a crust are?)who I'm sure also work very hard at their profession.

You seem, instead, to be trying to justify your own performances in the name of charity I said: because the money goes to charity doesn't change the fact that we are begging (all be it by proxi)

And I would politely point out that whether a busker turns in a tax return or not is none of your business Really?

Maybe I mis-read the topic? "Busking is Begging?"

Most of the answers above would be more on the topic of Are Buskers Talented, is busking a profession, do buskers work hard?

I have simply, looked at the definition of the two words - placed those definitions on the thread and stated my opinion on whether those definitions could apply to both pastimes. Which is yes?

I do not criticise either Busking or Begging nor Buskers or Beggars and just state several observations - If I upset anyone by stating my opinion on what is after all a discussion board - sorry but "that's life".

Brucie: MY understanding, if it's not yours or anyone else's Fine - I didn't comment to convert, just to add MY opinion, which is that Busking is Begging, my reason is based on the two definitions stated and nothing I have read so far in this thread has changed my mind - if that's your aim in life feel free?

and if we look to the origin of the word Beg and it's association with Lambert Begue and the Mendicant Order and maybe compare this with the music making of Hari Krashna or Salvation Army, why should anyone feel there is a stigma attached to Begging?

and if we look to Busking and the origin of the word busk coming from the French busquer which means "to Prowl"

which would you rather be associated with a charitable group or a Prowler :-)

and to pass on a quote made to me "Busking is Begging to music"

P.B.

"I'm a hard man to ignore - but well worth the effort"


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 08 Aug 04 - 02:35 PM

Penny, if you insist upon characterising street musicians as beggars, so be it. You're not the only one. Now I know that you're one of the majority of passersby who don't tip -- no big deal. I'm just dismayed that such a misanthropic individual is participating in a musician's forum.

Many years ago, when I was busking full-time, I did not file a tax return. If I had gone to the trouble to file with the IRS, I would not have owed income tax because my annual income was below the threshold for taxation. It's true that I failed to pay FICA "payroll" taxes, but then again I am not credited with having made any Social Security contributions over those few years, so the loss is as much my own as the government's.

If and when I start back again as an older adult with a full-time, fully-taxed day job, I would probably not declare whatever little extra income I would collect. In any event, if I *did* feel constrained to make full disclosure -- for example, if I were conspicuous enough that I thought the government would know about my musical activities -- I'm sure that I could declare enough busking-related expenses to show a loss and, in the end, pay *less* in net taxes.

I do not believe that the tax issue has any bearing on the question of whether playing in public for tips is "begging" or a legitimate way to earn income from voluntary contributors.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: The Shambles
Date: 08 Aug 04 - 02:50 PM

PennyBlack is entitled to their opinion, without being called names. This is the nub of this view.

I have simply, looked at the definition of the two words - placed those definitions on the thread and stated my opinion on whether those definitions could apply to both pastimes. Which is yes?

I have looked and consider the answer to be no. But it remains a matter of opinion.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Blues=Life
Date: 09 Aug 04 - 12:28 AM

PennyBlack:
I have several problems with your definitions. First, there is the problem that you see them as being equivalents. I see them as being definitions by genus and species, in the Aristotelian method.   Your definitions were:

Begging:
a solicitation for money or food (especially in the street by an apparently penniless person)

busk:
to play music or sing in a public place so that the people who are there will give money

The genus in begging is a solicitation for money or food. The species (i.e. that which differentiates begging from any other solicitation of money or food) is "by an apparently penniless person.

The genus in busking is to play music or sing in a public place. The species is that the people who are there will give them money.

From a strict logician's point of view, even using your definitions, these are not equivalents.

Secondly, the real problem is that you got your definition of busk from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary. A quick search of the Internet tells us that:

"The new Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary gives you everything you need to learn English and pass exams!
It's bang up to date, easy to use and comes with a great CD-ROM which takes your English to another level."

In other words, it's a student dictionary. Let's look at some other, perhaps more in depth sources.

The Concise Oxford English Dictionary (www.askoxford.com) defines Busk as:

busk: verb 1. play music in the street for voluntary donations.

voluntary: adjective 1 done, given, or acting of one's own free will.

Whereas beg is defined:

Beg:   ? verb (begged, begging) 1 ask earnestly or humbly for something. 2 ask for food or money as charity.

Webster's 1913 Dictionary defines busker as:

n. 1. a person who entertains people for money in public places (as by singing or dancing)

WordNet Dictionary defines busker as:

Noun- a person who entertains people for money in public places (as by singing or dancing.)

So, if you want to keep begging when you're dancing, go right ahead. We'll try not to let you know you're busking.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: PennyBlack
Date: 09 Aug 04 - 06:10 AM

Poppagator: Penny, if you insist upon characterising street musicians as beggars, so be it. You're not the only one. Now I know that you're one of the majority of passers-by who don't tip -- no big deal. I'm just dismayed that such a misanthropic individual is participating in a musician's forum.

Many years ago, when I was busking full-time, I did not file a tax return (here in the UK it is a criminal offence not to declare earnings) I'm just dismayed that such a misanthropic individual is participating in a musician's forum

I think you should change your name to Robin Hood. ;-) and I should be banished for having an opinion and stating it :-(    Does that make you a Fiddling Busker or Just a dishonest Beggar?

When did I either say or imply I don't "tip"? in fact I have and do as the occasion warrant give to both Beggars who either offer entertainment as an incentive to give money and those who don't - neither do I characterise street musicians as Beggars simple answered the Topic's question with a dictionary definition - If you want to work from a different dictionary fair enough.


Shambles: We agree! to disagree but there's nothing wrong with that is there?


Blues=Life: I reiterate, NOT my definitions, dictionary definitions (sources: Webster's & Concise Oxford 5th edition)- and don't forget the parenthesis (especially......)

From the definition you quote:

Of course one would also need to define entertain - in your terms at what point would your defined "Beggar" become a "Busker"?

If I understand what you imply above, I would presume if the person asking for money offers me something I don't find entertaining he would be a "Beggar" if I enjoy his offerings and find them entertaining he then becomes a "Busker" - whether an individual enjoys, or not, some form of entertainment (However technically good that form may be) must be a matter of individual choice? so what is a Beggar to one Person is a Busker to another? and so the answer to the original post must be Yes and No (of course).

Us Dance? have you never heard of the Richter scale :-)

P.B.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Blues=Life
Date: 09 Aug 04 - 06:18 AM

PennyBlack, I taught philosophy for many years. The number of informal fallacies in your argument boggles the mind. But, since logical argument won't work, we'll just agree that this is your opinion, so you are most welcome to it. You know what they say about opinions...and you are the definitive proof of the old law.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: SINSULL
Date: 09 Aug 04 - 08:59 AM

The only thing I miss about the NY Subway is the surprise entertainment offered in the trains and on the platforms. Everything from doowop on the #1 to flamenco dancing at Roosevelt/Jackson Heights. I never saw it as begging. After a grim day and a grimmer commute I was always grateful for the moment of pleasure. In summer, I would occasionally see some very young break dancers hoping to be discovered - some amazing talent there. I always carried a few singles in my pocket and when the performance deserved it - a fiver.

I have to admit I always pass up the mimes- annoying little idiots obviously begging for attention. But how could anyone resist a piano on wheels and a concerto in the park? When I worked near Grand Central there an elderly black man who sang spirituals every morning in the tunnel between the 7 and E trains. What a great way to start the morning. And a nice break from the panhandler with an artificial leg whose sad story changed from day to day -he lost it in Viet Nam, he was run over by a train, infection, cancer - and who threatened to come back tomorrow and rob me if I didn't give him money today. That's begging.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Acme
Date: 09 Aug 04 - 09:34 AM

Sinsull,

The acoustics in the subway, between trains, can be quite magical when someone performs down there. I heard some great stuff at Columbus Circle last summer, but there were too many trains for it to have a sustained effect. The traffic cancelled out the accoustics.

Have PennyBlack and BeardedBruce met yet? They ought to hit it off like a house-afire with their persistence and logical fallacies.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 09 Aug 04 - 01:24 PM

PennyBlack:

OK, I'll just agree to disagree. At this point, all we seem to be arguing about is semantics. As a former philosophy student myself, I tend to agree with much of Blues=Life's criticism of your logic, but who really cares?

You seem determined to classify busking as begging, but on the other hand you don't seem to condemn the practice, so it makes no sense to split hairs.

RE: Taxes -- In the US, as in the UK, the letter of the law requires all income to be reported. In practice, some types of income are rarely if ever voluntarily reported, including tips, gambling winnings, etc. In many cases, *if* a taxpayer were to report such income, he/she could also report equal or greater offsetting expenses or losses, and it is simpler (both for the individual citizen and for the authorities) not to bother at all.

"Big Brother" doesn't yet seem capable of tracking every possible source of cash-basis self-employment income, at least in the US. Is the UK so much smaller that the government can keep a closer eye on everyone's business? I would hope not.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Don Firth
Date: 09 Aug 04 - 02:55 PM

I repeat what I wrote above: "busking" is a relatively modern term (chiefly British) for what minstrels and troubadours did in centuries past (and remember, many of the older narrative and lyrical songs that are now regarded as traditional ballads and folk songs came from the poetic and musical talents of these minstrels and troubadours [read The Wandering Scholars by Helen Waddell]). If they were not either lucky enough to gain the patronage of a noble or aristocrat and work in a manor house or castle--or if they did not want such a gig--they would sing in the town square or in taverns or other public places in the hope that those who enjoyed their music would reward them with a few coppers.

It is not begging. It is a time-honored tradition.

Merriam-Webster defines "beg" or "begging" thusly:
Main Entry:   beg
Pronunciation:   beg
Function:   verb
Inflected Form(s)
Etymology:   Middle English beggen
transitive senses

1 :   to ask for as a charity
2 a :   to ask earnestly for : ENTREAT   b :   to require as necessary or appropriate
3 a :   EVADE, SIDESTEP (begged the real problems) b :   to pass over or ignore by assuming to be established or settled (beg the question)
intransitive senses
1 :   to ask for alms
2 :   to ask earnestly (begged for mercy)
Wikipedia offers the following definition:
busking is the practice of performing in public places to receive donations [emphasis mine] of money. The performance is often musical, but juggling, comedy, and sometimes magic is also displayed.
Note the word "donation." A donation is a gift, or contribution, as in "voluntary contributions will be accepted with thanks." Many long-lived and well-respected institutions and services survive by voluntary contributions. I leave it to you to make your own list. It's quite educational to do so (e.g. do you go to church? Watch public television? Listen to public radio? Drop a few coins in the can beside the cash register for breast cancer research? Uh--support your local troubadour?).   

THIS should settle the matter once and for all.

Busking is most assuredly not begging.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 Aug 04 - 03:25 PM

Busking is most assuredly not begging.

I agree Don but does your explanation mean tht asking for a donation is begging but receiving a donation is not?


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Don Firth
Date: 09 Aug 04 - 05:30 PM

If you are offering a service (singing, juggling, making balloon animals, etc.), displaying a sign saying "Voluntary contributions accepted," is not begging. I've been to many concerts in rented halls or churches where there was no admission charge, but on the program there was note that said "voluntary contributions to cover our expenses* will be appreciated" or words to that effect. I do not regard that as "begging." And busking is essentially the same thing, but on a smaller scale.

After all, if you come into the hall voluntarily or if you stop voluntarily to listen to the busker, you are participating in an exchange. Nobody is holding a gun to your head. You can choose to receive the service, or not. If you choose to receive the service, it's quite legitimate for the person offering the service to expect compensation. If you don't want the service, don't go into the hall, or just walk on by. Offering goods or services and expecting compensation for it is not begging. It's commerce.

Begging is asking for alms and offering nothing in return except a pathetic expression and tone of voice (and perhaps a good feeling tinged a bit with superiority and/or pity). You should hear what Utah Phillips has to say about the kids who hang around in front of the Mini-Mart, accost people coming out, and beg for "spare change." First, he says, "There is no such thing as spare change," then he goes on to say quite a lot.

To put it even more strongly, suppose someone had a card table set up displaying home-made jewelry. If you stopped, looked over the wares offered, and wanted, say, a bracelet, it is certainly reasonable and expected that you should pay the craftsperson for it (and quite probably, be asked for a specific amount). Goods (e.g., the bracelet)and services (the busker's entertainment) are generally offered with the quite legitimate expectation of compensation from those who chose to participate in the exchange.

Don Firth

*And "expenses" often covered the fee paid to the performer or performers.

P. S.: Incidentally, I have no particular personal ax to grind here. I have never gone busking, and I don't particularly intend to. But if I did, I would do so without shame and without feeling that I was "begging."


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Don Firth
Date: 09 Aug 04 - 05:40 PM


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 09 Aug 04 - 05:46 PM

I'm gratified to see Don's note that

... "busking" is a relatively modern term (chiefly British)...

I never encountered the word (in the US) until relatively recently, and have begun to wonder how I missed learning it. Now I know -- it's chiefly British!

In fact, back when I was *doing* it, I had never heard the word "busking." As far as I was concerned, what I was doing was "streetsinging." Of course, this term would not apply to non-singing instrumental performers, so "busking" becomes a very useful word.

Don's link to "BuskPittsburgh" was quite enlightening. I never had to bother with permits back in the early 70s, and occasionally (but rarely) was "asked" to move along by police. Of course, I picked my spots pretty carefully, usually confining myself to areas where the practice was already well-established. Applying for permission, especially when the permit specifies a particular limited time-frame as well as place (as seems to be the current situation in the NYC subway system), seems somewhat alien to my former lifestyle. Ah, for the good old days!


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,skyesidhe
Date: 09 Aug 04 - 07:24 PM

Since this question seemed to be oriented as to whether or not it's generally considered begging in the UK in specific...well, as far as I've seen it is actually more accepted in the UK and Ireland than here in the US. I have seen many buskers in both London and around the entire countries of Ireland and Northern Ireland as well as have busked myself in Galway. I do have to say though, that there is definately a quality line. Most buskers there are of a pretty high quality because the competition is pretty heated. So...nope it's not begging, but there is an expectance of quality..that's my general assesment.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: PennyBlack
Date: 09 Aug 04 - 09:04 PM

The Shambles - I was going to say that!

With reference to Bobert's comments re. Car boots sales etc. where he doesn't ask or imply he would like a donation, I would agree that he is neither Busking or Begging just enjoying music Al Fresco and sharing that with others at the event, by accepting money from some passers-by would not change that, as long further visits were done for the same reason and not in the hope of such "tips".

There does appear to be a different approach to "Busking" in the USA compared with the UK where as mentioned in other threads, due to changes in the licensing laws, it will/may fall foul of requiring a license (however Begging won't - ummm). But where else, other than the UK, would people be prosecuted for Singing "Happy Birthday to You". Maybe we should all move to "The Land of The Free"

P.B.

Still think it's a shame there's such a stigma attached to begging considering it's origins and the amount of courage it must take in some cases to ask for such help.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: jets
Date: 09 Aug 04 - 09:57 PM

I have been busking for at least 10 yrs.Never have I thought or felt that I was begging. Yes people put money in my open case but they often say thank you for makinging there day more pleasant and memorable. How about the hugs and the kiss on the cheek by the young women . Why did the owner of the jewelry store pay me to play in front of his store if he thought I was begging?
For the past year I have been receiving pay from the owner of an Italian resturant (pizza etc}to play in his store . He pays me and I also have an open case for donations. Is this still begging? I thinkk not. In the end it matters not for I enjoy doing it very much.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: reggie miles
Date: 09 Aug 04 - 10:48 PM

No busking is not begging.

Long ago when the practice of busking began entertainment wasn't as easily found as it is in our very electronically connected world today. Now, many of us on the planet can enjoy a vast array of entertainment choices. With only the push of a button we are bombarded with entertainment overload. Rival global conglomerates and their sponsors vie for our attention in hopes of gaining increased product market share and to ensure product loyalty. One simple example of this is the lengths that some companies will go to follow the browsing habits of those who frequent the web with software programs that spy on these patterns. The sophistication of advertising online via pop-up ads, spybots and spam has grown out of control. Is it any wonder that in our very commercial world that some might try to malign busking and liken it to begging? Unless major businesses are willing to back such activities with some kind of new reality TV show, sitcom, world tour, or twist it into some kind of venue whereby they can turn a profit from the venture for themselves they will forever continue to equate it as less than the mass produced varieties that they peddle. I, for one, don't agree with that point of view. I'm glad to read here that so many of you hold busking in such high regard.

If I don't see ya in the future, I'll saw ya in the pasture.

Or perhaps on some street corner near you.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Peace
Date: 11 Aug 04 - 09:32 PM

You can call a sheep a dog, but that won't make it bark. Busking is NOT begging. IMHO.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,Guest; tony
Date: 12 Aug 04 - 08:05 AM

My busking experiences are in the past, and these things change quite quickly - but I suspect that such a list would be of limited use.

If you intend to work outside of theatres, contracts, agents, etc., you fall into an uncontrolled category - you have freedom, but relinquish certain rights.

You are challenging both written laws - which have frozen many past attitudes to travelling performers (and may be interpreted more or less sympathetically by contemporary officers) -and also the unwritten ones - the attitudes of the public, other people working on the street, etc.

In countries with less structured welfare systems, many poor people 'work' the streets in various ways. You may have to consider these people more than the police - local performers who claim a performance pitch; street vendors seeing you strip money from the crowd; even protection rackets, who assume (rightly) that you may hand a certain amount over if threatened - it isn't only the government that taxes you.

You have to deal with these people directly, without the protection of the law. You certainly have human rights, although once out of your native land they can be somewhat different from your expectations - but you are also vulnerable to laws specifically enacted to keep the solid citizens of the community satisfied.

There is usually no law against juggling in a public place if you are not obviously dangerous (like juggling a machete, a torch and a bowling ball on a six foot unicycle). Still, there are probably several laws that may affect you, each designed to control different activities in the street.

For example, in the UK you could be arrested (or at least cautioned and moved on) by reference to laws on "obstruction" - if the crowd you draw blocks the footpath and people have to step into traffic to get past; for "causing a public nuisance" (which necessitates the police receiving a complaint from a member of the public, who may be a shopkeeper whose window is blocked, or someone who doesn't like your amplified music); "begging" is illegal in most places - there's nothing to prevent people making a gift of money to you, but you must not ask. To illustrate this, and the way laws may be interpreted, I offer this example.

A friend is a chalk artist [ed: Hadass Tamir]. She leaves a box for people who like her work to throw money into. Because she (unlike performers) has her attention on the ground, she chalks "Thank-you" in the local language, to save interrupting the flow of her work each time a coin lands in the box. One time I saw a policewoman standing over her in Cardiff. I went over to negotiate for her, thinking she was about to be moved on. "It's nice work, and people like it," said the officer, "but she must not ask for money." I protested that she just worked quietly and demanded nothing. "Yes, but that word 'Thank-you' is asking people to put money in the box." I insisted that it was just to thank them if they did. She was adamant, however, that she didn't object to two square metres of pavement being covered in drawing, but that offensive "begging" word had to be rubbed out. I scuffed it out with my shoe and she went away, quite satisfied that the law was now being respected.

No wonder I don't really understand the law - when thank-you means please! (And this was in my own country, in my native language.) It's an example of a police response which was both sympathetic (not looking for trouble) and yet pedantic (not simply turning a blind eye). Whether laws are activated against you will often depend on your own attitudes to other people, both in and out of uniform.

If you intend to travel by juggling, you could find yourself labelled as a "vagrant". This is a wide-based definition used to discourage travelling without visible means of support, or an address, etc., and could be used against someone without the means to prove they are a "tourist" and not working illegally. This is the definition of "Rogues and Vagabonds" from the Vagrancy Act in 1713:

"All Fencers, Bearwards, common players of Interludes, Minstrells, Juglers, all persons pretending to be Gipsies or Wand'ring in the Habit or Form of counterfeit Egyptians or pretending to have skill in Physiognomy, Palmestry or like crafty Science or pretending to sell Fortunes or like phantastical imaginations or using any Subtle Craft or unlawful Game or Plays..."

...and these people could be whipped, set to hard labour or transported. It is probable that "Juglers" here means conjurors, but you can see how this law might catch you in its net. In fact, the law which is in use in England at the moment is the Vagrancy Act of 1824, originally introduced to deal with the problem of rootless ex-soldiers discharged after the Napoleonic Wars. It had fallen into disuse, but has recently been re-activated to try to sweep homeless people from the streets of central London.

I noticed, in the Neil Stammer interview, the casual use of the phrase "jugglers are like gypsies." There is the romantic notion of the free Bohemian life-style, the mysterious and magical image you may wish to evoke in the public - the carefree gypsy. Unfortunately, most of the written laws surrounding "gypsies" are extremely punitive.

The issue here is not whether you are a "Gypsy" racially - this is an area as sensitive as discussing the distinctions between Jews as a race and as a religious group - but whether you may be treated as one. This is great if you meet people in their romantic mood: one face of the settled population greets the entertainer, the wayward artist, romanticizing the life outside the "normal" laws and ethics of society, the wild musicians who captivated the cafe society, the hint of mystery and fortune telling and unknown powers.

Yet it is worth remembering the other face, and the fact that the "gypsies", or more properly "Rom", have suffered terrible persecution in the course of their history. "The Nazis had a law of genocide against Jews and Gypsies for about eight years; we (in Britain) had one for Gypsies for two and a half centuries; in the 15th and 16th centuries hundreds of Gypsies were hanged in England solely on account of their race" (Thomas Acton, "True Gypsies - Myth or Reality", New Society 6June 1974).

This is tragic history, but it doesn't affect you, right? Wrong. Like "Bohemian", the term "Gypsy" is sufficiently vague to cover anyone who deviates from society's norm of fixed abode. "For several centuries the mere fact of being a "Bohemian" in France was sufficient to be sent to the galleys.... Who exactly were the individuals targeted by this expulsion policy? .... in five centuries that term was never defined." (Jean-Pierre Liegois, Gypsies, 1986 -tr. from "Tsiganes", 1983)

I am not going to attempt to disperse the clouds of disinformation surrounding the Rom. The lack of written records, and the complex multiplicity underlying that one simple word "Gypsy" take us beyond this article. I have found some material that suggests that the Rom may have brought juggling from India to Europe - but that is the seed of another article.

Now that law-makers are cautious about being seen to enact racist laws, and ethnic groups demand rights to continue with traditional modes of life, it has become important to deny that there is one easily distinguished group (who might have rights); so when Travellers actually try to park anywhere they find that they tend to be lumped together by settled citizens and their laws.

Here is a current British law, defining "Gypsies" as "...persons of nomadic habit of life, whatever their race or origin, but does not include members of an organised group of travelling showmen, or persons engaged in travelling circuses, travelling together as such." (UK Caravan Sites Act of 1986, Section 16)

This is a huge, complicated and fascinating subject. Suffice it to say that European countries have harsh laws aimed at Travellers of all kinds. There has always been a mixture of people travelling - merchants, refugees, disbanded armies, displaced people, economic migrants, pilgrims, etc - and laws invented to control them. You don't have to be part of an ethnic minority to find out that the resistance of populations to "gypsies" hasn't changed much. New Age Travellers using their initiative to avoid homelessness or poverty by adopting this lifestyle can still draw the negative responses that "Gypsies" have often endured. "Why don't you get a proper job?" is one of the mildest.

So the public may love you or hate you - either way, you are an ambassador for all the other street-workers - ideally you offer a good show, avoid offensive language, keep props and costumes as clean as possible, don't endanger the public and leave no mess behind you. You may prefer to be more challenging and "anarchic" (in the negative sense), but remember that each time you do that you re-confirm to the powers-that-be that their laws are valid, and you make it harder for the next performer. All street performing is testing a frontier, and setting new limits.

Don't forget that a written guide not only means a lot of people will seek out the same place at the same season (can you stand the competition?) but that such lists may also be read by police departments, neo-fascist vigilantes or outraged citizens. It might be useful to centralize information on festivals that hire performers, but then you are effectively back into show-biz and agents, etc.

There are good reasons why information about informal performing is circulated by word of mouth - whether you think of that as some sort of exclusive freemasonry or underground movement is up to you. So long as "being able to do the cascade" is considered sufficient to be recognized as part of "our tribe", then we need to be sure that people respect some unwritten rules of behaviour, as well as act cautiously when testing the laws of the land (and not provoke them into being revived and enforced) - and discourage abuse of such information.

Have Fun, Tony


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,reggie miles
Date: 12 Aug 04 - 08:47 AM

Wow! Tony, thanks for the well stated insight.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Aug 04 - 11:24 AM

It rather reinforces the idea that whether buskers are generally viewed as beggars - is up to buskers. How the authorities treat buskers is probably again largely up to how buskers respond to that treatment, no matter how heavy-handed this may be.

If you always behave like a skilled-professional - chances are that you and hopefully every other busker will eventually be viewed as that. The distinction between begging and busking, which is a very narrow one in some people's eyes - will become wider and a lot clearer.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Deckman
Date: 12 Aug 04 - 12:53 PM

You might find this interesting: I've been re-reading a series of books published by Time/Life, on the history of WW2. Within the book titled "The Battle of Britain," I came across the term "buskers." The reference was used in the description of rigors of the Londoners as they sought safety in the underground subways during the bombings. I quote: "Many of the stations' residents arranged their own amusments. Often a community sing would be going on. And there were always plenty of BUSKERS around - the entertainers who in peacetime performed on the street for people standing in queus at theaters and cinemas. They performed in just as lively a fashion for their new audiences in the underground. At Aldwych, in the center of the theater district, such famous stars as Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh and Ivor Novello would come down after their evening performances and present impromptu songs and sketches."   

I hope this adds to the discussion. Bob


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Aug 04 - 05:51 AM

The long-running UK arts TV programme The South Bank Show starts a new series tonight Sunday 22 August 2004. It is devoted to profiles of 4 London buskers.

The Radio Times preview contains the following:

The only good quote comes from one daft musician: "Busking and begging are completly different things. You can't even put them in the same sentence." But you just did!

The writer here does seem to be trying to make a clever point here but has chosen to miss the point that if this statement was not made in response to a specific question from those making the film - it was a question that the makers would have wished to examine. The fact that the musician put busking and begging in the same sentance, to possibly defend one, simply reflects this.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Aug 04 - 05:53 AM

See also

What compels a musician to busk?


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 22 Aug 04 - 06:19 AM

The approved City of Sydney Busking Policy 2001 states "Busking is a valid means for people to make a living" and subsequent references to that message.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Terry K
Date: 23 Aug 04 - 02:30 AM

The London tube thing should not be confused with the genuine buskers (some good, some bad, some in between) who play in the corridors.

The last time (of several times) I experienced the guys on the train itself, it was tantamount to them demanding money with menaces, to "musical" accompaniment. No attempt to entertain, every attempt to intimidate the captive audience - there were three bottlers in addition to the "musician". There was really no option for the average person to do anything other than pay up.

Not busking, not begging, just theft.

I remarked to myself at how the traditions of busking in the London tube had been almost instantly transformed by the behaviour of these people, and how we simply allow people to change our traditions, to the detriment of genuine buskers, without any apparent sanction.

Terry


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,Jacqued
Date: 23 Aug 04 - 02:33 PM

Catters might wish to hear what Tom Lewis says about busking, "The Busker" on his CD "Tinker Tailor Soldier Singer".   Different slant - and a very good song.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Aug 04 - 01:09 AM

They upstruck the narrow streets and their piss filled sewers.

Their legs, intruments, sleeping bags and animals are obstructions to real wolkers on their way to or from work.

If EVERyONE gave them NOTHING.....they would quickly move to richer grounds ... since the are mercenaries and not lovests ... they are small desperate problems best swept into the dustbins (analysis based on Marion's Busking Tour and consumate health concersn) perhaps they could find a more lucrative role as "village idiots."

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 24 Aug 04 - 06:29 AM

Well thought out Gargoyle,

Which means that if people stop giving to them, the only ones out there will be the best musos? More likely, we will just end up with the worst musos who think their shit smells of roses, and who will not listen to anybody tell them just how lousy they are - and that will be an improvement?

I left my Village - too much competition...
Robin


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: alanabit
Date: 24 Aug 04 - 07:36 AM

One should not really respond to flamers. However, I must say Gargoyle, that if anyone doubts the unassailability the position of the village idiot of Mudcat, I shall refer them to your post on this thread.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 24 Aug 04 - 01:57 PM

Nice going, Gargoyle.   ;(

Perhaps this marks the end of this thread. See y'all next time someone starts another discussion of street music.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: PennyBlack
Date: 24 Aug 04 - 02:34 PM

Now those people who sell "The Big Issue" are they Beggars or Street Vendors?


sorry - I'm Ducking - I didn't mean it.

In fact I would have deleted it if I hadn't already pressed the Submit Message Button.

PB


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: English Jon
Date: 25 Aug 04 - 08:22 AM

Well, it seems that anyone who uses their skills to entertain is running a self contained business - people don't have to pay to hear the performance, it rather depends on the personal integrity of those who stand for a while and listen.


so - a busker is an independant business owner using his or her own skills to generate income, rather than complacently waiting for a pay check from someone else who can be bothered to set up a revenue generating service.

Arguably, the real parasites are employees who feel that they "deserve a job"

discuss!

EJ


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Grateful Ted
Date: 25 Aug 04 - 08:25 AM

If a beggar sings at you for money, does that make him a busker? sorry,,, I'll get my coat..........


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: matai
Date: 25 Aug 04 - 08:56 AM

I did most of my busking in the '80s in a covered in Market Place. I was paid $30 and expected to open my case for the rest. It was usually for three hours over the lunchtime and often I'd come away with quite substantial amounts of cash. It was the only job I had then because I was a solo mother of three small children. It contributed excellently to the house-keeping budget. Occasionally some bloke would put in $20 and expect me to go out to dinner with him afterwards so having children to go home to was the perfect excuse not to.
Here in Auckland we also had an old guy who played his guitar open, no chords and mumbled his songs. Someone did a television programme about him and he became quite the celebrity. He tidied himself up but the music was always the same. We like that sort of thing here in NZ. It is part of our down-under eccentricity.
There are a lot of Asians and Polynesians here so our street music is quite eclectic. I have noticed of late that some areas where people used to busk have been cleared out. I suspect this is the corporate influence. I've always thought Mall would be great for buskers but I never see any in them. A pity really.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Nathan in Texas
Date: 19 Sep 04 - 02:52 PM

Ran across this relevant(?) quote today:

"Let a short Act of Parliment be passed, placing all street musicians outside the protection of the law, so that any citizen may assail them with stones, sticks, knives, pistols, or bombs without incurring any penalties." - George Bernard Shaw


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: alanabit
Date: 20 Sep 04 - 02:20 AM

That just goes to prove that even a man as brilliant and humane as Bernard Shaw was capable of writing stupid sentences.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Teresa
Date: 20 Sep 04 - 02:50 AM

Well, it really depends where you are.

The San Francisco Bay Area is very busker-friendly, and I did some playing there in the subways.

Now I live in Las vegas, which is even now "cleaning" up fremont street, clearing away the street vendors, etc. so I don't get the impression the gambling industry likes the street vendors and buskers much.

T


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 20 Sep 04 - 08:57 AM

Las Vegas lives on pumping money out of people without giving thema physical obect to take home - just a good feeling, the sort of thing that a good street muso gives too. The Big boys must be afraid about the little guys stealing their profits - times really must be getting hard.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Sep 04 - 12:28 PM

Yes, it is begging but does that matter. I have never seen a "busker" with a sign that said "no donations please.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 20 Sep 04 - 09:36 PM

If you don't like music, you don't have a soul, so you can only see buskers as beggars.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Sep 04 - 11:52 PM

Hmm?


Shambles, TroopOFuools, and Marion....are all the same person....posting under different personae?



They bucket a quid - go to the local internet cafe - after a cheap double cheese-burger-with-bacon....and being posting to dead threads.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: alanabit
Date: 21 Sep 04 - 02:39 AM

To the previous nameless creep, I can only say that you have probably never seen one of the hundreds of talented and hard working people who entertain crowds of hundreds outdoors for a tiny portion of what they would be paid for working indoors. So until you acquire a name, some knowledge and some manners, may I advise you to SHUT THE FUCK UP!


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Teresa
Date: 21 Sep 04 - 03:01 AM

Interesting thought, robin.

I think busking and other street art are a way to bring people together. I've met some neat friends that way, both as a busker and as part of the audience.

T


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 21 Sep 04 - 05:04 AM

You are right Teresa, you elaborated on what I said.

Obviously The Nonny Mouse ASS-U-MEd I was talking to it instead of elucidating one of my regular profundities to all the rest of you.

Robin


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Don Firth
Date: 21 Sep 04 - 12:43 PM

Some folks approach every discussion with an open mouth. It's pretty obvious that they don't read previous posts before they jump in. Above, I posted a link. I'll post it again: Clicky! Not that I expect the same shoot-from-the-lip folks to actually read it, so I'll cut-and-paste a crucial portion of it here:?
A. Busking is a centuries-old tradition.

Busking, or street performing, is a centuries-old tradition of entertainers performing for tips in public areas. In medieval Europe, local merchants would invite entertainers to their storefronts, plazas and public squares to attract pedestrians and increase business.

The roots of the American busking tradition lie in the numerous circuses that once migrated from coast to coast. Barnstorming from town to town, circus performers adjusted their comic, sword swallowing, acrobatic and juggling talents for street corners and soon became a mainstay in American street culture.

B. Benefits to Society

Street performers attract the public into an area and encourage them to browse from performer to store to restaurant and back to performer. This creates a mutually beneficial commercial environment for the stores, performers and the public.

Street performers cost the city and stores nothing and attract large crowds of people who are introduced to the other establishments during their visits to see the performers. The public benefits because it is exposed to a variety of quality entertainment for a minimum of expense and they can feel a part of the process of supporting the arts.

There is also a benefit which can't be gauged in terms of dollars and cents. Performers encourage people to know each other and to be connected

2. Legal Aspects

A. Busking is a constitutional right.

Federal court cases have given street performances First Amendment protection since Goldstein v. Town of Nantucket, 477F. Supp., 606 (1979). There are many court cases where activities on sidewalks, streets, parks, subway platforms, bus stations, and airports were determined to be First Amendment forums.
Then it goes on to cite various legal aspects of busking around the world.

The medieval troubadours and minstrels who wandered Europe spreading many of the older songs and ballads that we sing now (those who do sing traditional songs and ballads, that is) were doing what we now call "busking." It's an ancient, time-honored tradition. To call it merely "begging" shows a lack of a sense of history and culture.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Don Firth
Date: 21 Sep 04 - 04:50 PM

Furthermore. . . .

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Sep 04 - 10:47 AM

Don,

Thanks for that link. I used to play with Rob Goldstein 30 years ago around NYC. Any 'catter out there know where he is?

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,cracker
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 11:03 AM

In reply to this discussion I would like to say that here in the UK Busking and begging are legally two different things.

How do I know this?

More than 25 years ago a street musician in Bolton Lancashire, was taken to court charged with begging, The magistrate through the case out stating that musicians had made their living in this way for centuries and he was upholding a noble tradition. The local TV news carried the story. "Busking is not begging FACT."

The police in the UK know they can not bring this charge.

On a similar note, I notice that there is talk that legal aid is to be introduced in the UK for slander and lible (spelling?) cases.

If this was to come about, I would certainly file a claim against anyone who said I was a begger.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 01:23 PM

I know a number of UK professional acts who travel long distances to do a small folk club gig, for a very low fee, and boost their earnings by busking locally before coming on to the club. Thus the locals get a flavour of the music available at said club, and the acts plug the gig, and often are followed by people who want to hear more. Some of those become regular attenders. If people choose to drop money in an open guitar case, that is called donation, as no arms are being twisted.

Two services rendered for no extra charge.
I wouldn't call that begging.

Local councils have recognised busking as a legitimate art form, and license pitches for the purpose, so I don't think they call it begging either.

As for the guys on the train, they are not busking, but demanding money with thinly disguised menaces. If seen by British Transport Police, they might conceivably be subject to arrest and prosecution.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: John C.
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 03:40 PM

I have to say that I have many treasured memories of buskers and, generally speaking, they have enhanced my life.
Here in Manchester, where I live, they tend to be a feature of the city centre on a Saturday afternoon - and there have been some amazing ones over the years: a one man blues band (OK, my mate Rob), several Irish fiddlers, several bagpipers, several singer/guitarists, a group playing Balkan music, another group of Hungarian gypsy musicians and an extraordinary bloke who had a home-made pram contraption with dancing dollys and and a cunningly concealed tape deck for musical accompaniment and, most recently, an African man with one of those stringed instruments made from some sort of gourd - all amazing, all deserving of my monetary contributions and very little to do with begging.
On my occasional trips to foreign parts I have encountered other extra-mural musical talents: a violinist playing Mozart in the centre of Warsaw (whose music made me cry) and, in the same city, a man and a woman playing what may have been (I don't speak Polish) protest songs. In Athens I was on my way to work on the Metro when a man and a boy (Albanians?)jumped on amd began to play fantasic music on accordian and drum - I was so stunned by their brilliance that they had moved on to another carriage before I could give them any money!
In Bangkok I have a memory of an old man sitting on the pavement playing some weird instrument made of bamboo and in Bulgaria a fiddler produced eerie imitations of bird songs on his instrument and later in the evening playing Strauss waltzes with his mate on the accordian.
Buskers are an essential part of life's rich tapestry - long may they continue!!


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,sancho
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 11:40 PM

I play on the street in Spokane Washington. I paid $20 for a state master business licence and another $60 for a City license. There is a flute player here named Clarence who does the same thing. I am not a beggar. I pay taxes on the little profit I make. When someone tells me to get a job I tell them this is my job and don't they wish they could be their own boss. My business license also allows me to sell my cd's. I also play at Renaissance Festivals for tips and don't see much difference between the two. I admit I don't like when people just set down a hat and mumble into a pan pipe without paying to do it legal but if they're good it's forgiveable. Most of the greatest blues artists in history started off playing in downtown Chicago for tips, and they were not beggars. We work hard to learn a trade, it just happens to be one we love, and that is not begging.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Mar 05 - 12:23 AM

Like any legitamate county "merchant" in addition to the licscence (to steal) you MUST also make (quarterly/yearly) a report of you earnings and render back to the state that which made your gig possible (approx %7.25) to cover cleaning, building, maintaining, policing your little nitch of nervana.



Register, pay all taxes, do not run-afowl of local ordances such as spitting and applifiers.....



Than you dear amigo SANCHO (Sancho - slang for a gigilo) should continue to stay FAR FAR north of the USA's southern border....and more intence scrutiny by La Migra.



Sincerely,


Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: LadyJean
Date: 31 Mar 05 - 12:41 AM

Last summer there was a fellow playing bluegrass banjo down on Pittsburgh's Strip District. He attracted a fiddler, and then a mandolin player, and soon enough there was a whole, impromptu bluegrass band playing on one corner. They had a fiddle case out for tips, and I gave them money, because there just isn't anything much nicer than bluegrass on a summer morning. It was all I could do to keep from dancing. I expect all of them had straight jobs, and they used the money for beers at one of the strip district's bars. I hope they'll be back this year. I need some good bluegrass right now.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Mar 05 - 12:57 AM

IF...................


...........

Thee and me were on a scene

Would you let me hold your body close - nibble a nipple and dance obscene/?

Would our sweat have time to mingle and dripple to the wax dusted floor before handcuffs took up off to a county 4x4?




Hey little MudKitty what county you looking to go a little revenue raising in this coming May?


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: mandoleer
Date: 31 Mar 05 - 09:39 AM

One more here that doesn't think busking is begging. I've busked variously - with a youth wind band collecting for itself, as part of a group collecting for a hospital charity, as part of a tenor horn and kazoo duo, and I've more than once held the pitch for a frozen busker who needed to warm up (all cash to the busker), and played duets with a busker - and never thought of it as begging. I've even busked by accident when someone saw a recorder in my pocket and asked for a tune. I put down my tankard and obliged. The money thay ended up in the tankard more than paid for the little drop of beer that had to be thrown out...


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: alanabit
Date: 31 Mar 05 - 12:13 PM

Joe, the ignorant, spiteful drivel is what we have come to expect from Gargoyle here, and in the name of freedom of speech, I guess it has to stay up.
The (anonymous) poster before mandoleer has crossed another line altogether, and I would politely request you to remove it. There is no way one can interpret it as other than an inflamatory comment, with no attempt at entering a discussion at all. I don't want to see that stuff in its usual environment either - I am referring to toilet walls of course.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 31 Mar 05 - 02:17 PM

Of course busking is not begging, but I always liked the idea of it being part of the "underground economy" ~ that is, I detest the idea of paying permit fees or, worse yet, taxes.

If you do have to pay taxes as a busker, it should be in the form of income tax, where you're be able to deduct ALL your expenses (strings, reeds, etc. ~ if not instruments! ~ plus meals while out in the marketplace, a clothing allowance, etc.: anything and everything). A flat fee or percentage, like imposition of a sales tax, is hardly fair.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: mandoleer
Date: 31 Mar 05 - 07:19 PM

Instruments should be deductible but as capital items - written down in value over a period rather than being immediate deductions. Reason being, you can always sell them again. Meals less the cost of feeding at home, and special clothing (thermal long johns?) and transport to the venue are immediate expenses.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,CiaoBuddha.co.uk
Date: 28 Jul 05 - 03:41 PM

If The London Underground have the audacity to charge six pounds for a ONE day travel card (in New York $21 can buy you the equivalent to last a WEEK) then I will unashamedly have the audacity and God-given right to busk ON a tube train. Then LU show a little more brassneck by "legalising" busking at certain spots where you have to be there at a certain time (surely the whole idea of being a busker is to do it at your leisure), earn next to nothing for two hours whilst all you are ACTUALLY doing is standing around being an advert for Carling lager. So you have a choice. Either do it yourself, FOR yourself. Or you promote alcoholism, binge drinking and not forgetting being anti-Islamic. Muslims are excluded from this "scheme" because their religion forbids alcohol consumption and the promotion of it.

Oops did I leave out this tiny fact?

   "I DON'T WANT MY TAX MONEY BEING USED TO KILL AND MAIM INNOCENT IRAQI COMMUNITIES AND FUND HER MAJESTIES HOLIDAYS. SO I REFUSE TO PAY ANY"                Erm, thanks God for that God-given right and , errrr      CIAO BUDDHAS   :o)   
                      www.ciaobuddha.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jul 05 - 05:19 PM

I also have a God given right to beat the shit out of you if you disturb me while I am travelling.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 28 Jul 05 - 07:01 PM

Busking is the most stylish form of begging! However, if you are doing it on the tube and someone asks you to stop, it's just good manners.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 29 Jul 05 - 04:02 AM

Of course busking is begging. So is working. You think you have a right to your wages? Ask the people just thrown on the street by Tiny Computers- they didn't get paid last month. You don't realise how much working IS begging until you are self employed, and try to extract payment from someone.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,Dave'sWife
Date: 29 Jul 05 - 04:36 AM

When I lived in NYC and commuted to Mahnhattan from Staten Island, there was a 'busker' (and I use that term loosel) who could neither sing nor play. He would set up near large groups on the SI Ferry and begin to warble out of tune until somebody paid him at least $5 to go away.   I'd say he made at least $25 a trip in the AM. Eventually, people stopped paying him to shut up and would just get up and move en masse to another section of the Ferry. I wonder what ever happened to him? He had a nice racket going - kinda like the 'Viet Nam vets' on the subway who will shake a cup at you and go on about their trouble forever unless you give them some money.

There was also a guy on the SI Ferry who peddled bad shoe shines for $2-$3 who would make his rounds shouting "CHINE! CHINE! CHOO-CHINE!" until somebody couldn't stand it anymore and would pay for a 'Chine' just to make him stop yelling. Unfortunately, he'd make quite a mess of your shoes.

The "Choo-Chine' guy and the awful 'busker' had hostage audiences so maybe they don't qualify as performers. I always considered them terrorists. Real Buskers I like.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 29 Jul 05 - 06:06 PM

"Of course busking is begging. So is working...You don't realise how much working IS begging until you are self employed, and try to extract payment from someone."

Right on the money, Paul Burke; tell it like it is!

I'd say "LOL," except that it really isn't funny...


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,ciao buddha
Date: 09 Oct 05 - 02:56 PM

Mr "God given right to be violent." Slight mistake there old bean.You missed out the word 'TRY'....you have God given right to TRY and beat the shit out of me if I disturb you.Funny though how if a crowd of drunken footie thugs disturbed you whilst travelling you'd just sit there like a good boy that you are and hope none of them look at you. When it's just one guy you get all bwave.hahahaha ....... bring it on my son but make sure you are ready.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Hopfolk
Date: 09 Oct 05 - 04:12 PM

A couple of mates and I are going to try "Busking" in our local town soon, with the difference that there won't be any hat/guitar case/tin cup etc. for collections because we're doing it for the fun... and to get a little folk on the streets.
The relevant laws that we will be breaking are pretty obscure - stuff like causing a disturbance and obstruction etc. but I think we're ok so long as we move when moved on.

CamoJohn


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 09 Oct 05 - 08:05 PM

Tell your audience you've been asked to move along, and if they like the music to come back.

Try also asking them to donate to a charity of their choice if they liked the music.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,www.ciaobuddha.co.uk
Date: 19 Oct 05 - 09:36 PM

Begging or busking, if either offends you then you need to find a life. Beggers are generally people with drink/drug/mental health problems who really need to find help that money cannot buy.
          Musicians, jugglers, poets, painters etc are artistes and it is only the philistines and artless folk of this world who find any of them offensive. If you don't like it, don't pay. Simple as that. Although I suspect you'll happily go and pay 10 quid or more for some dreary crap like a Coldplay CD because some stupid mag told you they are the best band on the planet.
          It's all about mind conditioning and it is enforced upon the individual from an early age.Your parents, school, T.V, The Beano, The Sun. If you are a free-thinking, nonconformist who can take a step outside of 'what you were always told was right' you will realise that anyone making a living outside taxmans vast and unforgiving web, or surviving beyond the matrix of this so called society without hurting anyone should be applauded. They deserve MORE than they get for setting a wonderful example. Just because you have wasted a third of your life in the wrong job paying taxes to a government you don't like or trust don't expect everybody else to.
                LIFE IS TOO SHORT.......ENJOY IT!


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: InOBU
Date: 19 Oct 05 - 09:52 PM

No way is busking begging. ANy busker who comes off as a begger wont be on the road long. Frankly, in this nation we pay folks to drop high explosives on folks... don't look down your noses at what we do... and as far as a god given right to etc, and the just try responce... hey folks... it' s effing MUSIC here... are humans that poor of soul that you guys are going to pound each other over busking!!!!! JEEZE LOUEEZE if you don't like the act... god gave you two legs or the doctors gave ya wheeles... it is a big effing world with room for buskers and wowzers alike!!!!!!!!
Play nice
lor


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Big Mick
Date: 20 Oct 05 - 12:55 AM

A person who calls busking the same as begging doesn't know a thing about either of these subjects. Busking is honorable, and when I am in other cities I often go out and do a bit of it. Usually I give the money to a local soup kitchen because I am otherwise employed. I never compete with another busker because I am not doing it for a living.

Begging?? Not hardly. It is hard work.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,reggie miles
Date: 20 Oct 05 - 01:51 AM

"You Can Be A Street Musician" just about sums this entire subject up in one song. You can even here a snip of it via a link at this site. Enjoy!

Larry, another copy of this CD is in the mail to you shortly. Sawry it's taken sooooooooooooooooooo long.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: alanabit
Date: 20 Oct 05 - 04:27 AM

I enjoyed those MP3s very much. They reminded me of Woody Guthrie at his most biting and ironical - but with better musicianship and a smile all the time. Are you up for that album swap Reggie? I had been hoping to see you in Europe this summer.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: InOBU
Date: 20 Oct 05 - 11:06 AM

Back at ya Reggie, been running around and nutz of late, will send my latest to the return address with great thanks, lor


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Oct 05 - 08:53 PM

The original meaning of the word 'busk' is improvise.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: IanC
Date: 21 Oct 05 - 03:54 AM

Actually, that's not the original meaning of the word.

Most of the dictionaries give it as deriving variously from the Spanish or Italian buscar/buscare/boscar ... ultimately to seek ... in the 19th century.

There was, however, already an English verb to busk (it appears in the 1828 Websters Dictionary, for example) meaning to be busy or to go around busily. It is still (rarely) used ... as in "He busked about".

:-)


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Teribus
Date: 22 Oct 05 - 12:32 AM

Yes it is.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: alanabit
Date: 22 Oct 05 - 02:54 AM

One can hardly make oneself look more stupid than to join a discussion this long, fail to follow any of the argument and debate and then pronounce a previously held bias, which contradicts all the facts.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 22 Oct 05 - 05:30 AM

Teribus,

    A couple of years ago I was one of the performers in a three day event in Chicago called Buskerfest. The breadth and variety of entertainment was astounding. There was on juggling act that was astounding. They juggled flaming torches (allright you're unimpressed). They passed back and forth between one another (you've probably seen that, too0. They did so while they were on POGO STICKS (I think I have your attention, now)! They decided that the act still needed something, so they rigged up the pogo sticks to shoot flames from either side at seemingly random moments. An act like that MUST be done out of doors! There isn't a fire safety law in the western world that would let them do that inside anywhere.
    Is dropping a few coins in thier hat any worse than paying the U.K.'s television tax so that you can watch Tony Robinson dig up some poor jerk's garden in an attempt to find archaeological evidence of Vikings, or, as in the United States, sending thirty-five bucks to the local PBS station because they just aired a showcase of over-aged rock and rollers who haven't learned any new songs in the last fourty or fifty years?
    Buskers, at the very least, make some sort of effort to provide some entertainment. They provide a service. Admitedly, not a vital one, but a service nonetheless. The fact that it is not part of some organized program does not diminish its value. Beggars walk up to you and say, "Got any spare change?" or something like it. They offer nothing in return. How can you reasonably equate busking with begging?

Stephen Lee


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Bobert
Date: 22 Oct 05 - 08:57 AM

It ain't really Teribus anyway, alan, 'cause the real Teribus is totally incapable of a three word response...


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: DannyC
Date: 22 Oct 05 - 09:24 AM

In Oliver Goldsmith's "The Vicar of Wakefield" one of the characters (the good Vicar's son, I believe) busks his way across Europe and back. I assume that Goldsmith was drawing from his own experiences. I have heard the County Longford native was a fine flute player.

The story mentions:

(1) how his music was enthusiastically received in many different areas;
(2) he found it difficult to get the attention of comfortable, distracted rich people;
(3) in a certain region, the quality of the locals' music was so high that his own music was merely commonplace (Brittany maybe?)

I have held the story in reserve to ward off my own relations' concerns ("...and a grown man - with children of his own!!") about my enthusiasm for the music.

Hopefully, by linking my own efforts to this "Big Name" - the bedeviler of Johnson - a connection to the classical era (and all that stuff) I can add some justification to my single-minded, public pursuit of my music passions. Maybe I can make my kin feel better, for I have no plans to cease my embarrassing ad hoc performances.

Cheers,

Danny


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,www.ciaobuddha.co.uk
Date: 24 Oct 05 - 09:20 PM

CALLING ALL MUSICIANS.I am a struggling musician who often resorts to busking for a living. YOU ARE ALL INVITED TO LOOK AT MY SITE.......and if you want to hear some of our own music I am willing to send you an MP3 FREE OF CHARGE...just look at the LYRICS PAGE and tell me which lyrics you like the sound of and i will send you the song FREE OF CHARGE.... and I encourage you to send it on to anyone you might think would like it also. Dont worry I wont sue. Even though I do own the copyright. lots of love etc www.ciaobuddha.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Oct 05 - 09:34 PM

If soldiering is an honest job then surely busking is an honourable profession. Since busking I've managed to keep my invasions, killings and occupation on foreign soil down to a bare minimum. Not to mention taking polaroids of prisoners of war tied up into embarrassing positions. Though it is hard to quit the latter 100% etc www.ciaobuddha.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 25 Oct 05 - 01:09 AM

Rotflmao!!!!! That is the most twisted and wonderful thing I've ever read!!!!

Stephen Lee


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST, www.ciaobuddha.co.uk
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 01:06 PM

thanks stephen. twisted and wonderful?...there is a cheque and a barrel of oil in the post and on it's way to you!


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 May 09 - 01:46 AM

busking is a real job. we are encouraged to get a business number.
why should we not pay tax?
everyone else does.
begging is when there are drunks trying to play the guitar thinking they are Elvis or something.
I saw a drunk guy last year half heartedly playing in a band at the station behaving like a chippendale performer.
it was a sight everyone obviously wasn't expecting.
scare away the tourist why don't you!!!!


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: breezy
Date: 03 May 09 - 11:38 AM

Busking is not a 'real job' its not a 'job' at all, its not 'work' in the true sense of the word, its an activity that one can regard as a job , but that is to delude oneself into believing it is so to thereby justify doing it to oneself, but its never a 'real job'.

It is nothing to do with begging, though some buggers may use it as a guise.

Busking is a performing art, requiring many patrons in order for the artiste to sustain his performance over a long period of time thereby making it unnecessary for the busker to get a real job in the true sense of the word.

Still, what do I know ?

Its a form of entertainment, thats what it is.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Don Firth
Date: 03 May 09 - 01:54 PM

And an honorable one at that. It's a tradition that goes back over a thousand years or more.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: SylviaN
Date: 03 May 09 - 02:40 PM

Hi this is the Derby Ram commenting from Sylvia Needham's page.

Busking is not begging. Begging is a form of procuring remuneration for doing nothing in the hope that people will take pity on you for your lowly plight.

Busking on the other hand is, I have always considered and still contend, is possibly the most honest and submissive form of retail transaction.

If I sit in the street, legitimately and play my music for free on the off chance that someone will take a choice to reward me for my efforts because they have enjoyed it - how can that be begging? If no-one chooses to pay for it - then I am giving it away for free.

I do concede that if no-one offers to pay it's likely that you ain't good enough or simply no-one likes it - whatever....but it still can't be begging - it's a voluntary transaction for services rendered on trust.

I have way back in the past busked in the street in many towns and have never asked anyone to pay me for it - payment has always been voluntary and spontaneous.

Fortunately, I don't have to do it anymore but I will defend to the last anyone's right to engage in busking if they have a quaity act to transact.

Tra fer nah
Derby Ram (dislaying his horns)


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: stallion
Date: 04 May 09 - 06:57 AM

The first time I ever busked was a total accident, I was in a village in Lancashire camping with a mini bus full of blokes, being the driver the treat was to receive a drink from the other 11 on arrival, a pint glass full of brandy was the reward. In the morning I woke up laying on hard lumpy stuff, my pockets were stuffed full of small change, apparently I had sat on the steps of the pub all night singing and someone had put a hat down, when the lads came out of the pub they put the cash in my pockets and carried me to my tent. I had no recollection of any of it, oh we had been to wedding and I had stayed sober to drive to the evening bash.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 04 May 09 - 07:08 AM

Let's hope that the forthcoming Cameron government takes a more lenient view of buskers in the UK!


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: breezy
Date: 04 May 09 - 07:13 AM

O K stallion, but now explain the red ribbons and lack of trousers

Well said Sylvia, and its unfortunate that you dont do it any more as you are most talented.

regards to KK, has he performed 'Old Ben' yet !


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: meself
Date: 04 May 09 - 12:32 PM

First of all, busking and begging are completely different activities; there is no relationship between the two other than that they both take place in public spaces and involve money.

Second of all - where did this notion come from that there is something honourable about having a "real job"? Having a "real job" means giving up your autonomy and submitting to the authority of another person or group of people. In exchange, you receive a measure of financial security. I fail to see what is admirable about such a transaction. If you need to put yourself in that position, fine, do it, but don't try to paint it as something particularly virtuous. Likewise, if you like to follow orders, go ahead, but don't criticize others who are cut of a different cloth.

I spent many years with a "real job". I certainly do not feel that I am somehow a better person for that. In fact, I'm glad to be back scraping and hustling and not knowing how much money I'll make in the course of a day - and being my own boss.

Those who equate busking with begging, or who claim to, are either soulless automatons or simply jealous of those who have managed to retain a measure of independence.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: High Hopes (inactive)
Date: 04 May 09 - 12:41 PM

"Let's hope that the forthcoming Cameron government takes a more lenient view of buskers in the UK!"

*picking self up off floor, still slightly hysterical* You did just say that, right?

the short answer to the question, posed, is no.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,John from Kemsing
Date: 04 May 09 - 12:46 PM

Of course "busking" isn`t "begging". Busking is asking for money having demonstrated a public performance of one sort or the other. Begging is asking for money to tide you over current financial difficulties without preforming a service or entertainment.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 04 May 09 - 04:02 PM

The difference was made very clear in my Youth. On the way to football matches at Millwall, just as the crowd entered A small side road in New Cross, leading to the ground, there were two opportunities to be generous. On one side of the street stood an old guy playing the saxophone, on the other, a one legged chap on crutches, smiling and saying thank you while holding out his hat. The beggar seemed to attract more donations.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: meself
Date: 04 May 09 - 04:37 PM

Don't know how many of these guys are actual buskers, but I imagine some of them are. It seems to promote the idea of busking anyway.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: stallion
Date: 04 May 09 - 05:37 PM

my god breezy you were there!


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 04 May 09 - 08:14 PM

Meself, 'these guys' are street musicians.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,The campaign for real busking
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 06:40 PM

Under UK law busking cannot be classed as begging.

This is not an opinion this is fact under UK Law

Source: Butterworths. Law Report. [1983] Crim LR 45

Gray v The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester

"A street musician who played the guitar in a passageway and was given coins by passers-by, was held to be not guilty of the offence of placing himself in a public place to beg or gather alms created by Vagrancy Act 1824 s 3. His conduct did not fall within the section because (i) he gave value for money, and (ii) passers-by were not forced to deal with his activities."

The Law Report introduces the idea that busking is value for money, and therefore people gave him coins because of the music not because of need. Busking has nothing to do with need, instead it is being tipped by the public for providing the service of bringing live music into the city centre.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: meself
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 06:59 PM

How do you like them apples, Mister Chief Constable!


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,s-j in newcastle
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 06:07 AM

Funny, am just having a cup of tea before going into town to go busking for a while and came across this thread! I enjoy hearing and seeing buskers when I am out and about I think it adds to the ambience of the city, I dont see it as begging at all. We are not directly asking for money, just if you enjoy/appreciate what we do we are grateful for contributions and yes, quite often I am there out of financial difficulty, but isnt that why alot of people go to work?!
Anyway, weathers not too bad in Newcastle and as well as hoping to make money it's good practise for playing out, trYing out new songs and having fun.
Think will try out Durham for a bit of variety next week!
Sarah


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,Sonofman www.rebelzpromoter.com
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 04:53 PM

I'm joining this topic late, but having taken time to read every thread am really grateful nonetheless for the information contained.

Having been laid off I put every penny of my severance into building my artistry, recording an album, setting up a webstore (www.rebelzpromoter.com), registering a trademark, coming up with merchandise and now faced with taking my art to the people.

I carry my guitar with me everywhere I go. Whenever the opportunity arises I take it out and play, simply to get as much practice as I possibly can and because I simply love what I do. Music breaks down barriers and I always get smiles and positive gestures from passing folk.

Coming from a conservative background and taking account of peoples perceptions (prejudices), not to mention my earnings in my previous career I have never opened my guitar case to invite donations.

The closest I have come was in The Netherlands where I played outside a music store where my album is stocked (I justified this as legitimate promotion). Still people were happy to pay me for the songs I sang. I found this embarassing and offered a copy of my EP in exchange.

Reading this thread I can feel a changing in my personal perception of street performing.

Perhaps governments instead of frowning and licensing street performers should view the art more in the terms of social workers and should pay for the service, for surely brightening up the day of commuters and the public at large is a public service.

The benefit would be two fold

a) removing the stigma from the point of view of musicians like myself who when I do take out my guitar and play my self penned songs in public bring joy to the lives of passersby and

b) change the perception taken by some on this forum and society in gerneral who look down on and see street performers as beggers.

Regardless, having read this I will take a different view of myself and the next time I feel the urge to take my guitar in public will do so with pride!


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Sep 09 - 05:05 PM

Wakefield Council apologise to buskers over slanderous allegation of begging.

http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.ListAll&bID=510575094


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Stewart
Date: 17 Sep 09 - 05:30 PM

Artis the Spoonman is a regular long-time busker in the Pike Place Market in Seattle. He has also busked in many US cities and abroad. I asked Artis to write a piece on busking for the NW HOOT.

He says it very eloquently HERE.

The following is an excerpt from his article.

"Busking is the most admirable, honourable, respectable, integrated and difficult form of entertainment there is. Busking has no cover charge, no minimum drink, no ethnic, sex, age, religious, or economic segregation and there is no "middle man" restricting material. Busking is presented to everyone, whether they slept under a bridge or on the 40th floor the night before. Busking is performed for fair exchange, i.e., the audience pays what they determine applicable, having viewed and enjoyed the show, they care to contribute at all. However, as essential as the money is, the first contribution an audience member makes is when they stop."

"Keep in mind; before becoming an audience, a citizen has already predetermined a destination, if only strolling. There is no intention to see a show. We are going from point A to point B and along the way there's an act that attracts our attention. Stopping to listen is, straight up, a 100% compliment and contribution to the show. To remain is an addition to the 100%. To applaud is a further addition, to tip is yet again an increased contribution, and to talk of the act later that day, or the next, is an astounding plus from the first determination to stop while bound elsewhere. People often arrive late to work deliberately, miss appointments intentionally, skip classes at schools, colleges, and universities, and some actually change their whole lifestyle and vocational direction. Those are massive compliments and effects contributed to busking. " ... more.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: breezy
Date: 18 Sep 09 - 05:56 AM

Thanks for that Stewart

Artis says it comprehensively


So when a total stranger tracks you down weeks later and places an order for Cds from out of the blue and says listening was a highlight of their holiday, that too is a heck of a boost.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,Bardan
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 11:34 AM

As far as I'm concerned, if I thought I was begging I'd be doing a different job. I wonder how many of the musicians on this group have done five or six one hour sets in a day to audiences who were unfamiliar with folk music? Not all that easy. Sometimes you get real appreciation in a verbal and monetary sense. Sometimes, you have to choose between a bed and a decent meal. I'm not arrogant enough to say I'm a great musician or anything, but I've been playing the fiddle for about fifteen years and I think I've got a decent level together. I see myself as giving people a fairly decent musical experience, maybe a happy moment or something. In exchange, and only if they do enjoy it and can afford it, idon't think it's too much too ask for a tip. Still if they don't want to pay me no-ones making them. In my experience there's a definite difference in the pot if I'm a bit off- tired, hung-over or just playing below par. I would have thought this would generally apply to other buskers and the ones who are less talented are making less cash. I see busking as an art-form in its own right and a tougher one than most. Still I'm always willing to listen to another opinion.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,fiddlinmike
Date: 03 Oct 09 - 09:02 PM

Heres what I learned. You can't do anything about what people think.
They will think whatever they want. Since the word busking is in the oxford dictionary and has its own wikipedia page I tend to go with the english language myself. Fuck em. Don't let the bastards grind
you down. Remember the good.
   Man I've done my part. I have biz cards and have been booked at weddings parties and even street festivals. No one pays a beggar
to come hang out at their event.
   Music excites whatever is inside the listener. An exceeding positive reception tells me more about the heart of the person in
front of me and I am blessed for having met them and makes me try
to play even better less they come again .


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Feb 10 - 08:28 AM

Hi Guys. Been busking in Manchester for around a year and a half now. First, when I became homeless thru a nervous breakdown, a redundancy from my £60K a year job and my wife leaving me. I now have my own apartment and a somewhat way less hectic lifestyle!!

I go out most nights to play, not with the soul intention of making money but to have fun playing music. I think my enjoyment shows thru as I always seem to walk away with VERY heavy pockets filled with coinage.

In my case as I am sure of most others it certainly is not begging. I never ask for money just merely play guitar and sing, however should they offer me a few coins I will not turn it down.


Kind Regards Guys,


Heath.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: meself
Date: 21 Feb 10 - 10:06 AM

Good for you, Heath; congratulations. (However, IMO, it's better not to mention the VERY heavy pockets to anyone, unless you want other, 'new-born' buskers moving in on your favourite spot. I would even make a point of not letting too much cash accumulate in the case/hat/tub. And give vague, evasive answers when Nosey Parkers question you about your income. FWIW.)


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 21 Feb 10 - 01:11 PM

I think in UK that 'begging' is covered by the Vagrancy Act. In begging, under the act, the approach is for money and no service is offered. In the case of busking the service is provided gratis. The public can choose to engage with the service or to dismiss it. There is no confrontation, no threat and the risk is all on the part of the performer. The performer must NOT ask for, or request recompense. Definitely not begging.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,ollaimh
Date: 21 Feb 10 - 07:17 PM

i've busked for the better part of thirty years. for at least twenty full time. i do traditional celtic music and i have done lots of gigs and some folk festivals here and there but busking is so much funn and a lot less trouble. you don'thave to be hunting for work you don't need a roadie--although it would help. however you do have to deal with ignorant and difficult people, like those who think its begging!!!

you can't be a long time busker without learning to ignore the rednecks.most people are nice.

now i don't look down on begging its also an anciet and honourable occupation, but it's not mine. the people who see no difference are usually ignorant bigots. usually clalss bigots but sometimes with other axes to grind,however you ignore them, they are the ones carrying around their dark cloud, no need to help them.

busking is not beggin. for many it is an alternative occupation. a REAL JOB just an alternative one. you could train a monkey to do most people's jobs, but very few have the talent and creativity to regularily cage money on the street for a performance of any kind. especially to be able to get enough to pay the bills--that takes skill


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: mousethief
Date: 21 Feb 10 - 07:43 PM

Not a busker, let me say up front. But the idea that busking = begging is nuts. A busker is providing a service at no charge. If you don't pay he's not going to chase you down, or keep following you menacingly. It's a musical performance offered for free which you can pay for if you choose (and I very often do, even crossing the street if I can hear the music is good). I hope the buskers don't all go away, they make life more musical for all who happen past them and more musical is better better better. Thank you, all you buskers!

O..O
=o=


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,Sue J
Date: 21 Feb 10 - 07:59 PM

In Liverpool in the early 1970s three busker friends(all good musicians) were arrested for begging, under the Vagrancy Act 1824. This was a law brought to deter begging by, mainly, disabled soldiers injured during the Napoleonic Wars. My friends were all members of the Musicians' Union and the Union's lawyers took up their case and won, arguing that this archaic law should not apply to buskers.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Aeola
Date: 22 Feb 10 - 05:22 PM

Again in Liverpool just a few years ago there was a chap who ''busked '', and I use the term loosely, in Paradise St./ Church St. area.He had a cardboard cutout of a guitar with strings painted on and he went thru' the motions using the word '' plink plink '' to sound out the tune. People gave him money!! I happened to be in court one day when he was before the Judge, accused of some misdemeaner. He apologised to the Judge and said his days were at an end because his guitar had got wet and was useless.He was presented with a wooden one and resumed his '' busking''. It did add character to the Street!! Oh I forgot , he did have some cardboard CD's for sale!! All true.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Derby Ram
Date: 22 Feb 10 - 05:48 PM

Busking, I mean REAL busking ie; having a real entertaining talent and sharing it with everyone that passes for potentially no reward, has to be the most submissive, passive and most honest form of exchange known to man and is morally heaps ahead of an apparently legitimate, bone-fide door to door direct salesman (whatever he's selling) or indeed the miserable passer by who clearly likes the music but doesn't offer anything in appreciation (who's legal right and freedom it is, of course, to do so at will).


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,June
Date: 22 Feb 10 - 07:12 PM

In Seattle, busking is legally defined as begging, which is a good thing for musicians and may be one reason why Seattle has such a vibrant music scene. Since it's considered begging, you're allowed to do it. If you tried to sell shoelaces on the street, you'd need a permit, and good luck getting it! But you can support yourself, marginally, by playing music on the street, without anyone's permission. And there's nothing like busking on a daily basis to develop your skills.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: meself
Date: 23 Feb 10 - 10:28 AM

Once saw a fellow playing on the street with a little hand-written sign that read, "Tone Deaf. Can't sing. No talent. Please help." Edmonton, Alberta.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,GUEST
Date: 17 Apr 10 - 04:35 PM

There has been a battle going on between the intellectually deprived and and the intellectually gifted ever since antiquity.

busking is most emphatically NOT begging.

the product buskers produce is intangible and intellectual in nature.

"Intellect is invisible to the man who has none." - Arthur Schopenhauer

i didnt invest so much time and money for my lessons and musical education to be classified as a beggar.
    Please note that anonymous posting is no longer allowed at Mudcat. Use a consistent name [in the 'from' box] when you post, or your messages risk being deleted. Guest,guest is not an acceptable posting name - it has already been taken.
    Thanks.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 27 Apr 10 - 09:44 PM

"What do you call those people who have pockets full of money, who watch a show from start to finish and then slink away at the end without paying anything? What right do they have to call anyone beggars?"

Alanabit i call them cheapskates and if they call me a beggar i call them niggardly cheapskates.
the love clown
    Please remember to use one consistent name when you post. If you post under a variety of names, you risk having all your posts deleted. Guest,guest is still not an acceptable posting name - it has already been taken.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,Cale Freemann
Date: 23 May 10 - 02:05 AM

Here in Australia busking is seen as a legitimate occupation requiring a tax file ABN, anyone who busks knows that busking is an honourable occupation with a very long and illustrious past, troubadours have been carrying the art of music for centuries, in many places in the world the busker is a revered figure and welcomed enthusiastically, my own experience tells me that rednecks and dickheads who have no talent other than to criticise are the only real problem, 99% of people are fine VIVA the ancient art of the Busker...........


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,Busker Gal
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 07:27 AM

Busking is not begging. I've busked in the UK for 10 years and most of the people are fine. Buskers provide light entertainment for passers by and brighten up their day if only for a brief moment. People can chose whether or not they want to tip. Buskers come in all sorts of variarties and add colour and life to where they are perfroming. Some buskers have a loud speaker and are not very good and annoy people working near by. Most buskers are considerate and nice. Busking has helped me develop as a performer and I would like to thank all the people who support buskers, every little helps! :-)


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: GUEST,Englishman
Date: 22 Nov 12 - 03:39 PM

Busking is definitely not begging. Buskers offer a service in the hope of remuneration, but it is not asking for charity. Here in Derby a busker's licence is free but they have an audition to show they can actually entertain. I have seen some amazing buskers in Derby and will always give money if I feel they have earned it because I want them to continue to do so. How many husbands stand outside clothes shops while the wife and daughters spend hour upon hour trawling through every bloody item in the place? I would gladly pay a couple of quid to listen to them than the alternative.


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Subject: RE: Busking is begging?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 22 Nov 12 - 04:02 PM

When my partner (She Who Must Be Obeyed) was down in California shopping at a street fair, I hauled out my fiddle and a chair and sat myself down with an open case. After about 45 minutes one of the women from the antique store across the street came over and asked if I would move to the alcove of their establishment. I played there for another 2 hours, made about 40 bucks fiddling away, while SWMBO looked at everything for sale in Downtown Arcata. I have been busking now for over 45 years and I would never consider begging anyone to drop some money in the kitty. I might remind them that the long green is always appreciated, and I always ask the kids who drop in the change that their parents give them, "Is that your whole weeks allowance?"

Mark Ross


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