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What compels a musician to busk?

CharleyR 20 Aug 04 - 04:28 PM
alanabit 20 Aug 04 - 05:36 PM
PoppaGator 20 Aug 04 - 05:44 PM
Joybell 20 Aug 04 - 06:46 PM
GUEST 20 Aug 04 - 06:52 PM
Pat Cooksey 20 Aug 04 - 07:31 PM
khandu 20 Aug 04 - 10:59 PM
The Fooles Troupe 20 Aug 04 - 11:16 PM
The Fooles Troupe 20 Aug 04 - 11:49 PM
cobber 21 Aug 04 - 02:10 AM
erinmaidin 21 Aug 04 - 05:59 AM
Terry Allan Hall 21 Aug 04 - 03:43 PM
The Fooles Troupe 21 Aug 04 - 10:44 PM
The Shambles 22 Aug 04 - 05:36 AM
The Fooles Troupe 22 Aug 04 - 05:49 AM
The Shambles 22 Aug 04 - 05:56 AM
InOBU 22 Aug 04 - 08:53 AM
The Shambles 22 Aug 04 - 07:41 PM
The Fooles Troupe 22 Aug 04 - 08:15 PM
Guy Wolff 22 Aug 04 - 10:33 PM
Cluin 22 Aug 04 - 11:10 PM
The Fooles Troupe 23 Aug 04 - 03:20 AM
Gervase 23 Aug 04 - 06:19 AM
Bagpuss 23 Aug 04 - 06:26 AM
Gulliver 12 Dec 06 - 12:28 AM
Scrump 12 Dec 06 - 04:46 AM
NormanD 12 Dec 06 - 08:07 AM
GUEST,meself 12 Dec 06 - 09:04 AM
GUEST 12 Dec 06 - 10:50 AM
GUEST,Guest 12 Dec 06 - 11:55 AM
GUEST,dwditty 12 Dec 06 - 02:03 PM
GUEST,squeezeboxhp 12 Dec 06 - 02:38 PM
The Sandman 12 Dec 06 - 05:15 PM
GUEST 12 Dec 06 - 05:47 PM
Lox 12 Dec 06 - 05:58 PM
Lox 12 Dec 06 - 06:01 PM
GUEST,JimP 12 Dec 06 - 07:53 PM
GUEST,meself 12 Dec 06 - 08:25 PM
Tim theTwangler 12 Dec 06 - 08:36 PM
Kajikit 12 Dec 06 - 11:00 PM
Kajikit 12 Dec 06 - 11:02 PM
GUEST,meself 12 Dec 06 - 11:18 PM
frogprince 12 Dec 06 - 11:30 PM
GUEST,meself 12 Dec 06 - 11:45 PM
Wilfried Schaum 13 Dec 06 - 02:25 AM
InOBU 13 Dec 06 - 05:20 AM
Scrump 13 Dec 06 - 06:19 AM
GUEST,meself 13 Dec 06 - 08:44 AM
NormanD 13 Dec 06 - 08:56 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 13 Dec 06 - 09:44 PM
Seamus Kennedy 13 Dec 06 - 10:39 PM
GUEST,meself 13 Dec 06 - 10:57 PM
Muttley 14 Dec 06 - 02:13 AM
GUEST,daniel 21 Jul 08 - 05:49 AM
Big Al Whittle 21 Jul 08 - 06:10 AM
Mo the caller 21 Jul 08 - 10:15 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 21 Jul 08 - 10:10 PM
reggie miles 22 Jul 08 - 04:01 PM
Rowan 22 Jul 08 - 06:49 PM
Nick 22 Jul 08 - 07:21 PM
Nick 22 Jul 08 - 07:24 PM
Big Mick 22 Jul 08 - 09:44 PM
InOBU 22 Jul 08 - 10:07 PM
GUEST,hey, gargaoyle 23 Jul 08 - 10:53 PM
Bert 24 Jul 08 - 12:32 AM
reggie miles 24 Jul 08 - 12:54 AM
reggie miles 24 Jul 08 - 01:31 AM
Stewart 24 Jul 08 - 01:16 PM
oggie 24 Jul 08 - 05:29 PM
Newport Boy 25 Jul 08 - 04:39 AM
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Subject: What compels a musician to busk?
From: CharleyR
Date: 20 Aug 04 - 04:28 PM

Thought people might be interested in this discussion on the BBC website: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/talking_point/3579672.stm


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: alanabit
Date: 20 Aug 04 - 05:36 PM

Thanks Charlie. As a busker myself, I'll keep my prejudiced comments out of this discussion. I enjoyed reading that though.


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 20 Aug 04 - 05:44 PM

Great stuff! It was really encouraging to see that *most* of the respondants had positive things to say about buskers.

I would prefer not to see licensing become mandatory; as one of the active buskers in the poll said, spontaneity is an important aspect of the whole experience, for listeners as well as for the performers.

It was interesting to see that most of the sourpuss naysayers specifically mentioned their resentment that busking income usually escapes taxation. I say, that's a good thing! Independent ventures like this one require no help from any government, take nothing from anyone except voluntary contributions, and do not need to turn over any part of their modest proceeds to The Man.

The image one gentleman complains about, of a busker reporting to work in an expensive sports car, means nothing. Sounds like BS to me, like Ronald Reagan's mythical Cadillac-driving "welfare queen." If it is in fact true that a street musician was observed driving such a vehicle, you can be sure that he bought it with money obtained in some other manner than busking (either inheritance or a good day job).

Only one responding busker admitted that his activity was a great way to meet girls. In my (long-ago) experience, that was really a *main* feature of the "job." For me, the money never got any better than subsistence-level, but the, er, social opportunites were unprecedented. When I got married, I absolutely had to quit the streets.


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: Joybell
Date: 20 Aug 04 - 06:46 PM

Yes it is interesting. Thanks Charlie. Lots of people told me what they thought of buskers in general and me in particular when I was busking in Melbourne. Almost all of it was positive and similar to the comments in this article. Sometimes a friend came with me and lurked in the crowd picking up comments from bystanders, just for fun. She did hear things like, "I'll bet she isn't really poor!" and once, "I'll bet she hugs trees and doesn't like uranium mines!" While busking I always avoided singing "message songs" so that one was a bit of a puzzle. Most people understood that busking is an act. The most common comment was, "You've brightened up my day!" and after a break, "Where have you been I've missed you?" Joy


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Aug 04 - 06:52 PM

I remember seeing a Busker in London during a short visit there in 1997 thanking one person for giving them some money ("I am really broke") and then later when recognising an American accent, telling them that they planned to visit the USA! I even have this on Video, or some of it!

(Not that any of this is a reason to stop, or even license, busking!)


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: Pat Cooksey
Date: 20 Aug 04 - 07:31 PM

Before I moved to live in Germany I spent many happy years in Ireland,both busking and playing in pubs, the busking part paid the bills, and the pubs were for fun financially.
I was fortunate to live in Ireland, where a good voice is paramount, and the people could identify with what I was singing.
My main towns in those days were Kilenny, Clonmel, Wexford, and later when I moved to Clare, the streets of Ennis.
I won the Tipperary song contest with a song about busking in Ennis, it was also a bonus that the people knew I had written some famous songs.
I sing now in Germany in places I would not have dreamed of in those days, but still look back with happiness to my time in the streets.


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: khandu
Date: 20 Aug 04 - 10:59 PM

I have never had the talent, nor the audacity, to busk. I have always admired those who dare,& I have certainly tossed a coin or two in the hats. The only busker with whom I have conversed enough to develope a rapport has been alanabit (whom I was sure would respond to this thread even before I opened it!), & if he is an accurate representation of the general busking populace, they are a fine lot!

ken


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 20 Aug 04 - 11:16 PM

If you dig thru this PDF file, you will find that Sydney is talking about only giving a busking licence if a proper Australian Tax File number is given. This is the approved City of Sydney Busking Policy 2001.

Note:

"Busking is a valid means for people to make a living"

Busking activities are covered by the Council for Public Liability, but only if the busker has agreed to the highly restrictive conditions, including Tax File provision.

It's worth reading the policy in full if you have been following the Mudcat Busking threads, no matter what country you live or busk in - Australian Legislation has an unfortunate habit of becoming attractive to much of the rest of the world's politicians. Australia was one of the first countries to give women the vote, for one example, another is the PBS health drugs scheme.

Robin


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 20 Aug 04 - 11:49 PM

I forgot - I rang up the Brisbane City Council yesterday.

BCC used to charge a hefty "Busking Licence Application Fee" as well as a savage "Busking Monthly Licence Fee", as well as only allowing those who pass Auditions (we will for the moment ignore the questions of musical taste or ability on the part of those conducting the auditions!) about once a quarter. I noticed that the only busker in the last few years was the blind sax player with his dog - who the Council tried to refuse a permit for a while ago. This caused considerable public outrage, including making it onto TV!

It appears now that all fees have been removed (it seems that they are now trying to 'encourage' buskers!), but you still need to track down the secret quarterly audition dates (You are not cleared for access to that information Citizen!) for access to only the Queen Street Mall (one was on today, but future ones are unknown!). A successful audition allows one to get a monthly permit, which has to be reapplied for each month. For the 2 Valley Malls, if you can get the guy to answer the mobile phone number which the nice guy on the phone took a while to track down for me, you can audition by agreement, and get a licence only for the Valley Malls on the spot.

Busking elsewhere is prohibited, but there are a few triers, most often in the railway tunnel at Central - none in the Valley (Brunswick street), or Roma Street, or South Brisbane. Police "move you on", if they find you.

Buggered if I know how you crack Southbank (The People Friendly Park - old site of 1988 EXPO - where busking is encouraged!), every time I ring them up to find out the information they tell me they will ring back and never do! Never seen any musical buskers there, only a few jugglers - nothing sharp except their wit, and no flames, etc.

Robin


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: cobber
Date: 21 Aug 04 - 02:10 AM

I started my career as a busker, mainly in Northern Queensland. It was illegal in those days (1966-7)and you had to keep moving on to avoid the cops. From there, I moved into the pubs. Townsville had 56 in those days. I would buy a beer and prop my guitar against the wall with my pack. Sooner or later someone would ask you to play and get permission from the barman. It was illegal to perform in the bar but they often turned a blind eye. Evenings in the lounge were good and every now and then I would pass the hat round, or preferably, get someone else to do it. It was a great way to learn performance skills as well as meeting some wonderful people. The only drawback was that everyons wanted to buy you a beer and this led to a heavy habit by the time I was in my early twenties. My 11 year old son has now taken up busking with his cello at the local market and it has given him a great incentive to study his instrument as well as teaching him how to perform. Incidently, if they take your TFN before allowing you to busk, that should prove that you are a professional musician. For the small amount that you need to declare, you can then claim instrument depreciation, strings, clothing, make-up and even massage as tax deductions so it ain't all bad.


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: erinmaidin
Date: 21 Aug 04 - 05:59 AM

the desire to eat?


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: Terry Allan Hall
Date: 21 Aug 04 - 03:43 PM

Cool article!


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 21 Aug 04 - 10:44 PM

Well, cobber,

"Incidentally, if they take your TFN before allowing you to busk, that should prove that you are a professional musician."

I have little faith in the Australia Tax Mob, unfortunately. They recently ruled that certain things in Aged retirement homes which had been exempt under legislation from GST were now not exempt. The several relevant subsequent Minister-chair-warmers shelved the problem, until the latest temporary one made a decision that overturned this.

You can get 'private rulings', even by phone on matters such as this 'professional status' position, but legally, different people can get different non-precedental conflicting rulings.

In the Tax legislation is a marvellous piece of construction, which allows the Tax Dept to deem that something that did take place - did not take place, as well as deeming that something which did not take place - did take place... in other words, being able to legally rewrite history for the purposes of imposing tax liability and fines, etc.

George Orwell would be amused!

So cobber, I am sorry to say that your helpful suggestion seems to have no legal support. I am sure that if the deductions for the expenses exceeded the stated income, the Tax Dept would simply rule (based on past similar rulings) that Professional Status did not apply, but even though it was a hobby (and normally the 'income' from a hobby is not taxable since you can't claim deductible expenses), since the Sydney Bylaw stated that busking was a legitimate means of 'making a living', it would be taxed! If you want to fight that, go for it - I hope you have the money for the case! :-)

Robin


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Aug 04 - 05:36 AM

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


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 22 Aug 04 - 05:49 AM

A good many years ago, a bunch of buskers made it out to Australia. They got a lot of publicity, and even had an LP record released. I think they were called 'The London Underground Buskers"??? ... or similar...

I have been thinking about this for months, and that name just popped into my head. It would have been probably not much earlier than 1975, and not more than 10 years after that, if anybody can help.

I really liked their style - they did lots of Classical Music Standards, with minimal instruments, only 2 or 3 of them, but they sounded very good.

Shambles, can you give us the names of the buskers on that show - we probably won't get to see it here.


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Aug 04 - 05:56 AM

If I get to see it, or record it, I will try.

See also

Busking is begging?


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: InOBU
Date: 22 Aug 04 - 08:53 AM

Hi gang:
Thanks Charlie... good piece. However, licencing and such... well, I am not for it. Frankly, the good musicians keep at it and not too many bad ones make enough to keep going, unless they are a little bit bughouse, and then, well, licencing wont help or hinder. Fact is, the unpredicable nature of busking is such that 1. paying a fee can set one back more than one can afford, B. the idea of a quality control board would have ruled out Bob Dylan before he began to record... (Gee Mr. Zimmerman, with that squeeky voice of yours, perhapes you might concider accountancy... I could hear a licenicing man saying...) Well, some days you pay all your bills and get a new instrument, other days and other places, you get treated like a bum... or worce, for example the Union Square farmer's market, Yuppies stand and listen, encourage their kids to ask about the music, then walk away as though you are a public service - but that is the unpredicable nature of the trade, and you keep at it, licencing it generally kills it quick.
Cheers and good luck fellows on the road,
Larry
PS TO support the continuation of the busking tradition, feel free to email me at InOBU@aol.com and enquire how you may perchace a copy of the lattest "The Best of Lorcan Otway (is yet to come)" With lots of new songs and many of the old...


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Aug 04 - 07:41 PM

The names were Jordene, a classical soprano, student and mother of two.
Peter, a celtic harpist and an ex accountant.
Hadar Manor, a singer/guitarist and ex Israli army officer.
And a chap, whose name I did not catch, who played guitar and sang reggae type songs on The Southbank.

They did show a bit where folk who wish to offically busk on the London Underground did their audition. These auditons were held in the London Underground.


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 22 Aug 04 - 08:15 PM

Thanks, Shambles.

Yeah, InOBU,

I 'failed' an audition some years ago - 7 am in middle of winter in a howling frosty windy mall surrounded by tall buildings with no sun...

I had heard of "Ice Wine" but never "Ice Whistle" before....

Robin


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 22 Aug 04 - 10:33 PM

I was playing a gig at the NATIONAL HOTEL on Block Island the week end Nixon resigned . We had room and board for a week on a lovily ocean veiwed hotel . WRONG just room and on the third floor . No money ... I was playing on the street to make food money . I had a blast and made a lot of friends . All the best , Guy


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: Cluin
Date: 22 Aug 04 - 11:10 PM

Must....stop!
Must.... fight.... compulsion!
Must... not... busk... anymore....






Losing.... battle!

Oooooohhhhh gaaaaaawwwwwdddd...


MUST BUSK!


RUN AWAY YOU FOOLS, WHILE YOU CAN!

RUN!

RUN!!!!





Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa....



Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie...


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 23 Aug 04 - 03:20 AM

Dropped My Shiv-ee in the Levee...


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: Gervase
Date: 23 Aug 04 - 06:19 AM

I busked on the London Underground for a couple of years on and off and largely enjoyed it. There were times, though, when it the dust and monotony got tedious - but that was maybe my fault for having an hour-long set that didn't vary much and playing it on a rather loud melodeon!
What made me stop was the growing number of unpleasant and violent types who seemed to have a problem with busking. After one afternoon when I genuinely feared for my safety I simply gave up and haven't been back.
Back then, when it was still illegal, some Underground staff tacitly encouraged busking. One told me that it made other people feel safer, especially in some of the longer footways like Green Park and the museum tunnel at South Kensington. Even the Transport Police were generally pleasant - they'd ask you to move on, but never once was I threatened with arrest. Sadly there wasn't much they could do about the average, ticket-holding psychopath with a downer on buskers!


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: Bagpuss
Date: 23 Aug 04 - 06:26 AM

Have to agree that on the few times i have used the London Underground, the presence of a busker made the long empty footways/tunnels much less scary to walk through alone.


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: Gulliver
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 12:28 AM

The last couple of posts remind me of when I worked for London
Underground in the seventies (for about six months). Part of my job
was to get rid of the buskers at the Leicester Sq. station, but as I
was learning the guitar at the time I spent more time getting songs
and chords off them any chance I could--I still have my London
Underground diary filled with song chords. I'd let them busk and
warn them if the station master was doing his rounds.

Many of the buskers drank in an Australian pub in Nottinghill called
the Black Swan, where they could get a few drinks for singing songs
on stage, and I'd arrange to meet them there, often turning up in
full uniform to frighten other buskers who weren't in the know!


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: Scrump
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 04:46 AM

I tried it as a skint student, down Portobello Road in London. After 15 minutes I was moved on by the police, but during the short time I was playing I earnt more than I could have done in an average job in a couple of hours (I forget the amounts but they would be meaningless today). I never tried it again though, it was just an impromptu thing because I just happened to be carrying my guitar home after a late night session somewhere, and it was a fine sunny day, and I thought, "why not?"


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: NormanD
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 08:07 AM

A mate of mine has been busking on London Underground pitches for the last six months. He plays guitar and sings.

It may have been written above, but getting approval is quite a pallaver. You have to be auditioned (I'm not sure who the selection panel comprises) and have enough of a repertoire to get you through a two-hour session.

It's now all approved pitches underground - any random buskers, without approval or ID, get moved on or busted. Some pitches are more lucrative than others - the central London, busier interchanges, and ones with good acoustics, are favourites for earning more money. After you start you have to have done so many sessions before you can get an-inner London pitch. You have to book by phone on a Tuesday morning, and the lines are usually jammed. Using speed-diallers, using several phones at once, and getting mates to phone in for you are common.

The whole thing is sponsored by Carling - they give TfL money for the pitches, and TfL have to ensure that each pitch is always filled. Apparently, they give licences to more than they have pitches in the knowledge that many buskers will drop out, and that pitches are always full. You do get trombonists, whistlers, jugglers, etc approved (The Woody Allen movie "Broadway Danny Rose" comes to mind).

My friend can make between £20 and £50 on a good night for a 2 hour session (at Piccadilly, for example), but that's pretty much the exception. You don't work a 40-hour-week, remember. It covers the cost of his transport there, and strings, etc.

Not all buskers are poor, homeless or hungry - too many assume it's an alternative to selling The Big Issue. They're working musicians, getting by, maybe even earning a bit.

Norman


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 09:04 AM

I spent many years busking, on and off. Sometimes full-time, sometimes part-time; sometimes made a whack of money, sometimes made nothing. I loved it.

However, as the years went by, and I became more tied into the "straight" world in other aspects of my life, I unfortunately came to realize the degree of contempt felt for buskers by the general public. Although the greatest modern sin seems to be to "care what anyone thinks", I'm a weak and sensitive enough soul that to some extent I do care, and it reached the point, fairly early on, at which I felt I had to hide this seemingly unsavoury aspect of my misspent youth. I would find it virtually impossible to go back to busking now, much as I wish I could.

As a teenager, when I started seeing buskers in larger cities, I always admired them as generous artists who were contributing something wonderful to society. I just assumed others felt the same way. And while many indeed do, the vast majority seem to equate busking with begging. One approving comment I used to get fairly frequently was, "At least you're doing something to make some money; not like these other guys ... ", as if what I was doing was just one step away from begging. This impression is actually fostered by some buskers, as the one mentioned in a post above, who apparently went out of his way to be pitiable. This view of busking as glorified begging is reflected in the disapproval of the busker who was seen driving a fancy car, and comparing him with the person on welfare driving a Cadillac (or whatever it was). To me, this comparison makes absolutely no sense - but I understand how it makes sense to many people ...

Anyway, buskers - more power to you! But be careful about how implicated you become in the straight world. Avoid it like the plague.


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 10:50 AM

I once worked in a bookshop outside of which a man played the sax (badly) all day long, every day. It drove us nuts, it drove customers away and casual staff were hard to keep. We also had to keep the shop door closed in order cut down on the sound of the "music". Finally we discovered that other merchants were also complaining but we found there was no law against this. I guess my feeling is that buskers often presume that they are contributing beauty to the urban scene when they are often adding nothing but unsolicited noise.
I think people bus for two reasons, they want money and they think they have enough talent to warrant getting it.


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 11:55 AM

I became interested in folk music in the early sixties and all my early heroes busked their way around Europe (Alex Campbell, Jack Elliott etc). I've recently retired and have now started to busk - I get a real buzz out of it and find it a great way to practice and get a few bob while doing so. You get to meet loads of nice people too!


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: GUEST,dwditty
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 02:03 PM

Most of us Busk because we walked out of all the sessions.


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: GUEST,squeezeboxhp
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 02:38 PM

for a bet, it was;
i could not make my dinner money in St Anns Square Manchester while the lads on the building site went to fetch it = 15 mins.
i won the bet hansomely with the melodeon turning in a tenner


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 05:15 PM

Ive done it many times,was given a fiver by RONNIE DREW, a punt from Eammonn Dunphy,and also Jimmy crowley[ with whom I once did a split gig]his face was a picture when I reminded him of the gig.
Its a great way of meeting people, selling cds and having fun while making money.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 05:47 PM

How much change did Dunphy ask for Captain???


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: Lox
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 05:58 PM

Remember pepper land in "yellow submarine"

Musicians scattered around making life colourful.

Of course (as in every walk of life) there are charlatans around who give the rest a bad name.


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: Lox
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 06:01 PM

I was given a fiver by Ronnie drew too once outside M&S on Grafton Street in Dublin nearly 17 years ago.

He used to stop and talk to Pete the hot press seller outside Bewleys Cafe.


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: GUEST,JimP
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 07:53 PM

I have to admit that I've often been tempted to try my hand at busking, especially now that I'm in between jobs. Two things keep me from it: one is the very real fear that I'll see other lawyers with whom I'll probably have to work in the future, and secondly my guitar skills are pretty modest.

On the other hand, I've got a decent voice (people tell me), and I'm unlikely to run into colleagues in the Fisherman's Warf area, where my repertoire of sea songs and shanties would most likely be appreciated. So: should I try it?


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 08:25 PM

Only you can decide. Think about it: if you're busking regularly, sooner or later you ARE going to run into someone from that straight world of lawyers and their spouses and their clerks and their clients, etc. - only you know how you'll feel when that happens. Will it be a minor embarrassment or will it be a humiliation that you will never forget, and that will haunt you if you return to law? If it becomes the default joke in the law firm every time you are humming a tune as you wait for the photocopier, will that bother you? If you're singing a song at the firm's barbecue and someone makes a great show of passing around the chef's hat, are you going to be amused? Only you know that.

As far as the guitar goes - if the main point of your presentation is the songs and voice, then your guitar playing just has to be supportive; it does not have to be impressive.


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: Tim theTwangler
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 08:36 PM

The musicians I know only busk if they forget the words or the tune.


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: Kajikit
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 11:00 PM

I always wanted to give busking a shot, but I was too chicken to just do it, and I knew that you needed to buy a license etc. So I only did it twice, at a market that actively recruited young musicians for atmosphere. It was fun, and I earned a lot more money than I expected to given my fairly limited repertoire at the time (I was fifteen, and I found myself too shy to sing, so I just played my flute and recorder). Nowadays I think I'd do it like a shot, but they don't seem to have buskers in the US (and who'd want to listen to a 35-yo housewife anyway?)


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: Kajikit
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 11:02 PM

I certainly don't see busking as begging - it's entertainment! There's a big difference between someone sitting on a street corner looking pathetic, and someone making music that people actually want to listen to.


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 11:18 PM

"but they don't seem to have buskers in the US"

All the more reason to do it - no competition! Get in on the ground floor while the getting's good ... that's what I did many years ago ...

"(and who'd want to listen to a 35-yo housewife anyway?)"

Hey, this isn't Vegas (or is it?). It's about the music. Besides, who knows you're a housewife? It's not like you're going to be out there in curlers and slippers and housecoat, with a mop and pail beside you. You can dress in feathers and sequins and they'll think you're a showgirl between engagements. (Jeesh, 35 - don't write yourself off yet!).

Just think of it as a way to pass the time on a nice day. If you make money, great; if you don't, there are worse ways you could have wasted a couple of hours.


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: frogprince
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 11:30 PM

Contempt for buskers? God, I'd hate to live in a world without any.
And what I wouldn't give to have the talent to be one. A small fraction of the buskers I've heard should have known better; the rest ranged from good enough to brighten the day, to damn good performers.


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 11:45 PM

If only there were more like you, O regal amphibian, this world would be a happier place. Especially for buskers!


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 02:25 AM

Music is such a fun, not only for the performers but for the audience, too.
When a friend and me wandered through a wine region in Southern Germany we were forced by the villagers to busk when they saw my friend's guitar. I whistled on a small bamboo flute, and sometimes we sang in two voices. It always was a roaring succes.
Guess how they paid us? Lots of wine. It was a wonderful trip.


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: InOBU
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 05:20 AM

Thought this was a new thread, wrote the following to post to the BBC site, then noticed it is from 04, and could not find a way to post to it anyway, so here it is, I find I am writing similar thoughts several years later...

Well, ... it is lovely to hear all the praise of New York Buskers. I often busk in New York, sometimes in the subway, but mostly in Central Park, as the NYC subway is terrible for one's hearing. The best stops, often are the loudest -- and soon one begins to appreciate the toll. I am an uilleann piper, and after a while, I have trouble tuning my instrument from the ringing in my ears if I play on the subway. In the park, I can pull out all the other instruments, sing, play the guitar, low whistles once a crowd gathers.
There is a licensing scheme in New York, only on the subways. I refuse to get a license, as busking predates the authority of any state, it is the last stand of the true commons. I do pay taxes, and in fact, I have a Juris Doctorate from NYU, and often have funded my work for marginalized people through busking, while making public their causes through songs I've written. For those who do not pay tax on their busking, they also serve one small bit of humanity, as they have not paid for the bombs and bullets our two governments have dropped and fired, killing so many innocent and guilty alike.
A funny event happened one day, on the issue of legality. New York City police seldom go out of their way to hassle a busker. One day, I was playing in the subway, and a young Black woman was really intently listening. She let several trains go by, and I was really rather chuffed. I really pulled out all the stops, enjoying playing for her. Then a young fellow jumped the turnstile and in an instant she tackled him and handcuffed him. She was an undercover police officer. As she pulled him through the service door, she turned to me and smiled and winked. That event is one of the reasons I really love New York, must say.
For those who say here that we make too much money, so they don't pay for the music they enjoy, well, what can I say, other than, I certainly hope they don't pay all that money to hear the Rolling Stones (just an example, Mick, no finger pointing at thee... )
I've busked in Bath, ( the town not the plumbing fixture) as well as a number of villages and cities in England, France, Ireland, Canada and a few other places, and my thanks to all who kept me on the road.
In short, lovely thread, and best of luck to all...
Lorcan Otway - a New York Quaker.


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: Scrump
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 06:19 AM

These comments are all in favour of buskers as far as I can see. There is a downside - how many times have you been forced to endure a prat in the London Underground, amateurishly thrashing away at a third-rate version of Streets of London or other done-to-death song?

I'm not saying they're all like that, and maybe these are unlicenced performers, like the ones that get on the tube and go round collecting from passengers, but they're not all good by any means.


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 08:44 AM

Two responses to that - no, three, number one being, Know whacha mean. Number two: busking is the ultimately democratic musical performance - if you don't like it, you just walk by with a scowl and give nothing; if too few people like the music and pay for it, then the busker moves on (in theory ... ). Number three: in modern cities, even on the telephone, we're constantly subjected to annoying music inflicted on us by corporate interests, not to mention lamebrains in cars - why are people willing to tolerate that, while demanding legal sanctions for buskers?

Having said that, I have to admit that I've never been in the London Underground, so I'm obviously unfamiliar with what's going on down in that Morlock world ...


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: NormanD
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 08:56 AM

InOBU wrote:
"One day, I was playing in the subway, and a young Black woman was really intently listening. She let several trains go by, and I was really rather chuffed. I really pulled out all the stops, enjoying playing for her. Then a young fellow jumped the turnstile and in an instant she tackled him and handcuffed him. She was an undercover police officer. As she pulled him through the service door, she turned to me and smiled and winked. That event is one of the reasons I really love New York, must say."

What, you're glad the cops waste their time arresting and cuffing fare-dodgers? Could be worse, I suppose. Over here in lil ol London town it's been known for guys who jump the turnstiles to be shot dead....

Do bad buskers on London Underground run the risk of being shot dead?

orman


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 09:44 PM

SHEIIIIT!!!Muslin


spend 20 minutes


In the Right Spot

AND YOUR TRIP FOR THE WEEK IS PAID FOR



Sincerely,

Gargoyle



Yeah, the Greek places smell like Onion/Garlic....but the Russian Women are beautiful.


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 10:39 PM

In College (at U.C.D.) in the late '60's, I needed money for drink, so I took up busking.
I soon realized that it could pay for drink AND a good meal too.
Then when I came to the States in the early '70's, I did a little in New York while establishing myself on the Irish bar-performing scene, and when I was "between gigs".
I moved to Boston, and did it there outside the MTA stations, then went to a bar gig at night.

It sure augmented the income from the saloons.I always give a busker something even if he's lousy, because he's giving something in exchange for the money, unlike guys who just sit with their hand out.

If the busker is good I give more, and I'll usually listen to an entire song, maybe more, and applaud when he's done.

I saw two young French guitarists in Galway this summer playing hot club-style jazz in the street, a la Django. They were brilliant! I stood and listened for 45 minutes, and they played just for me while people walked by. I gave them a good bung and bought 3 of their CDs.
Theye were called Hot Frogs; keep an eye out for them..


Seamus


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 10:57 PM

"he's giving something in exchange for the money, unlike guys who just sit with their hand out"

I wish people wouldn't keep comparing buskers to beggars. I guess they're going to, though ...


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: Muttley
Date: 14 Dec 06 - 02:13 AM

What compels a musician to busk?????
Hmmmmmmmmmmmm !

I've never really considered myself an actual "musician" as such; just a bit of a musical hack who enjoys his tunes.

However, as I have mentioned in other threads, due to unfortunate circumstances I had first, my voice (courtesy of having my vocal chords burnt when over-run by a bushfire I was fighting and inhaling flame - hose pressure failed) and then my guitar-playing (courtesy of head injuries and subsequent Acquired Brain Injury) taken from me in the space of about 8 years.

However, in the past 5 - 6 years I have learned to settle into my "new" voice and relearned a simpler method of guitar: As such I only ever played songs for children i teach in order to facilitate learning - ie War songs around ANZAC and remembrance Days; Pioneering, shearing Gold Rush songs for those topics and other stuff - soft rock ballads, British Folk, humour etc for other stuff; Peter Coombe songs for 'Little 'Uns'.

However kids at several schools asked me if I busked and I'd fob them off with "No, my playing isn't good enough any more".

However, about 18 months or more ago, I took the plunge. We have a local spot that doesn't discourage buskers - provided they are 'unamplified' or otherwise enhanced. I only busk on Saturday mornings outside of Cricket season as I umpire in-season and can't spare the time.

I have received MANY compliments and made a decent amount of money on occasions.

I think the important thing to realise as a busker is that I am playing for ME as well as the enjoyment of others and hoping to give them pleasure and I am playing for free. I don't expect money for doing what I do and thus accept any money I am tossed as a bonus.

A few times I have had a few 'fivers' tossed in (no they didn't ask for change) - one guy even came up as I was packing up and handed me a 'fiver' and I went to refuse as I had finished and he said - I was listening earlier and I loved what you played - I just got some change so plaese accept it".

Of late I now have a small laminated page in my case explaining my disability and a few Brain Foundation pamphlets nearby highlighting the ABI condition. Goes down very well. I also donate 10% of anything I make to the ABF.

Bottom line - busk if you feel the urge - if they don't like you, they won't toss antyhing in the case.

Muttley

PS Hi to Joybell (and Foolestroupe and Gargoyle) up above there.


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: GUEST,daniel
Date: 21 Jul 08 - 05:49 AM

i was busking and someone gave me two hundred dollars


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Jul 08 - 06:10 AM

One day I was going round Bakewell market, and I come across this old fellow playing a banjo. An unusual banjo - it was tenor one and it shimmered, it was gold in colour.

It was pretty weird stuff he was playing - Sons of the Sea (bobbing up and down like this).

but I was feeling expansive, d'you wanna a gig pal? I asked him.

So I took his number - he said, For Chrissake Al, if a woman answers the phone say its a wrong number.   told my wife i was out playing golf, she'd kill me if she knew what I was up to....


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 21 Jul 08 - 10:15 AM

We were in Miltown Malbay at the Willie Clancy week. We saw 2 tiny girls with tiny violins and we knew full well what compelled them to busk - Mummy.
They could just about manage Twinkle twinkle.

Then on the last day our dance class teacher said, bring your instruments in, we'll finish with a few songs, tunes and steps. One of the dancers fetched her son and daughter after their classes (they were only a couple of years older) and they played for us as part of the session, no cash given or expected, a delight.


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 21 Jul 08 - 10:10 PM

Starvation - Salvation - Reconsiliation

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

capitulation to a higher order


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: reggie miles
Date: 22 Jul 08 - 04:01 PM

I first witnessed performers playing music on the streets of Seattle's Pike Place Market in 1978. I had already been a paid performer before I had moved to the area from the Midwest that same year. I marveled at the idea that one could merely play music on the street and folks would offer donations if they enjoyed your performance.

So, given that employment in my field of interest was scarce, I decided to give it a try. What did I have to lose? For years I barely made enough to survive but that was enough.

My skills at street performing were not sufficient to enable me gain a great amount of attention to my efforts. However, my time on the street did afford me the opportunity to explore new avenues of musical expression. I began a more serious exploration of bottleneck slide playing after seeing and hearing another street performer playing some powerful interpretations in an open E tuning. I also began playing washboard percussion while working with several other street performers in a small combo, The Street Buzzards. I debuted playing musical saw on the street. I've written and worked up many a comic line, bad pun, new song, song intro, and story while playing on the street.

The street has afforded me the opportunity to practice those all of those art forms in front of a live audience of passersby. However horrible I was, when I first began to explore those various musical pusuits, eventually, through personal diligence, I progressed. My efforts at mastering those skills has been time well spent. Today, when I perform on the street, or offer my talents elsewhere, the reactions I get to my performances in all of those various pursuits is quite different. Yes, all of those years of practice did help me to advance and sharpen my abilities as a performance artist.

When I first began performing on the street some of the journals that I was keeping also contained my sketches of other street performers that I performed with or just enjoyed seeing and hearing. Last Fall, I used these early artistic renderings to develop a poster design for our local Buskers' Festival and won the competition for the best poster design. One of the character sketches was also chose to be used as the teeshirt design for the event.

I began hosting my free musical saw workshop at our local NW Folklife Festival six years ago. Since that time several hundred folks have attended. This year, during my attempts to provide attendees with an appropriate handout, I developed my own how-to booklet. That publication also features one of my sketches on the cover from those thirty year old journals. I have further plans for that series of drawings.

My point is that this whole 30 year experience of performing on the street, busking, has blossomed in directions that I could never have imagined. I've won awards, and accolades. I've received compliments, and applause from many thousands. I've also created many more smiles than I could easily count via my musical pursuits on the streets and that alone has made it all a very rewarding experience. Who can say where it may yet lead?

The street offers some distinct advantages over traditional musical venues like bars, pubs and clubs. The street is free of cover charges, free of dress codes, free of age limits, and free of minimum drink fees. Street performers, buskers, offer their talents for free too. Listeners are free to watch, listen and be entertained, or not. They are also free to donate, or not.

This art form, busking, then is really about fair exchange. The listener makes the determination about what is fair.


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: Rowan
Date: 22 Jul 08 - 06:49 PM

When I started playing concertina (I had long been unsuccessful in attempts at other instruments) I was so excited at just being able to produce music that I carried it everywhere (still do) and would pull it out if I was likely to be stationary for more than five minutes. I was just doing it for the excitement and it led to lots of "practice".

This meant I had the appearance of busking, even though I had no money-catcher in front of me, at a time when busking was not common in Oz. I noticed two quite frequent responses, one of which was to offer me money. Usually I would attempt (not very hard) to decline the offer and explain I was just trying to learn tunes and, if I were in an airport lounge or similar location (where management was likely to be stuffy about democratisation) I was particularly scrupulous about refusing money, even when proferred in large denominations; I didn't want to run the risk of breaching some minor by-law. I might add that, on the rare occasions when the group I was part of decided to put in some practice on the street (eg Circular Quay, in Sydney, before all the licensing rhubarb appeared) we made enough in half an hour to pay for a slap up dinner and drinks, so I have no doubts about the quality of performance.

The other frequent response was harder to interpret; some people would go all huffy, or indicate their 'unease' in a wide variety of ways. After some time of this I figured that what was going on was that, for most people, most music is not "live" but heard through a set of speakers that they can control with a switch; with a live musician they didn't have that option and this made them feel uncomfortable because they lacked a certain amount of control.

My response to that set of inferences has been to do it even more. These days I often have to go to Sydney on union business and I get into the CBD well before business hours. So I'll sit and play (without a money-catcher, so I don't infringe the by-laws) as the hordes pass by with their iPods in their ears. If I reach Central Station with time to spare on the way home I do the same there.

Without the intent to receive money, this may not really be busking but my compulsion is to increase people's exposure to "live" music.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: Nick
Date: 22 Jul 08 - 07:21 PM

It's a good £35000+ income if you work at it. That's on good authority.


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: Nick
Date: 22 Jul 08 - 07:24 PM

Sorry I misread the thread - "compels a musician to busk" - that would be a life partner perhaps of the female variety (or male or perhaps female). Preferable if it's work rather than pleasure.

I am going to try it this summer to see if I have the balls to do it. I have applied for my licence and will have my audition and go from there


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: Big Mick
Date: 22 Jul 08 - 09:44 PM

I have not read the whole thread, but I just wanted to answer the question.

I sometimes busk, for the same reason I want to one day hop a freight for a while. Because it is what those that I admire have done, and it makes me be closer to the meat of the stew. So when I am in certain towns, or places, I will open the case and busk. Sometimes I get run off, other times I do alright. Marion did it around the US once.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: InOBU
Date: 22 Jul 08 - 10:07 PM

Hi Nick... if you ask me, if you audition and get a licence... it is a gig, not busking... busking assumes that we own the road.

Baxt
lor


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: GUEST,hey, gargaoyle
Date: 23 Jul 08 - 10:53 PM

Copulation to a higher ardor?


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: Bert
Date: 24 Jul 08 - 12:32 AM

I just read the post by Seamus who says that at least they were not standing there with their hands out.

Two days ago a guy came up to me and asked if I could spare some money for him to buy some beer. He said "I'm being honest". After I had given him a couple of dollars I got to thinking. That was probably just a line that worked to get him more money. I bet the guy really had three or four hungry kids to feed.


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: reggie miles
Date: 24 Jul 08 - 12:54 AM

My lighthearted ode to this particular pursuit, a talkin' blues.

You Can Be A Street Musician! Reggie Miles © 2008

You can be a street musician!
It doesn't take a lot of ambition.
It don't take talent or ejamakation.
And it more fun than workin' at a fillin' station.

Or for some theivin', lyin' corporation
Like Worldcom or Enron, or one of them other dot cons.
I could go on, but what's the use.

So come on down and don't be shy.
Sing songs to folks as they walk by.
Strum and rant and stomp your feet,
Express yourself out on the street.

It's called freedom of expression people.
It's not guaranteed via the ever-increasing constant tuition,
As some would have you believe.
But it is promised to every red blooded American
By the first amendment of the Constitution.
That's Constitution not constant tuition. Get it straight!

You can sing requests all day long.
It don't matter if the words are wrong.
Pour your heart out or just play covers.
Sing the blues about your lost lovers.

Oh where, oh where has my little lover gone?

If you want, you can get political,
Just as long as you're not a little too critical.
Sing silly songs to make folks laugh.
Don't have to cut your hair or take a bath.

[Sniff, sniff]
Smells like somethin' died up here.
I hope it's not my song.

You can arise from bed at the crack of noon.
Spend an hour or so just to get in tune.
Swallow a steamin' black pot o' jo,
To get yourself up before the show.

No, I would not like cream or sugar with that.
On second thought, a double espresso ice cream float.
With plenty of chocolate syrup,
A Mount Rainier of whipped cream on top
And don't be shy with them nuts darlin'

Then look around for a likely location,
To begin your musical vocation.
At an outdoor market or a subway station,
Or where ever folks need edification.

Right here at the Mudcat Cafe looks like a good place to start.

Divorce yourself from the ol' rat race,
And open up your guitar case.
You're sure to find somebody who,
Will be happy to donate a buck or two.

A quarter, a dime or a nickel'll do.
How about a penny?
Or how 'bout the keys to your SUVs?

You can make a million dollars a year,
If you start out with two million's what I hear.
It's easy to do, take it from me,
It's more fun than playin' the lottery.

And all the money goes to the sick, the tired and the hungry
And you're lookin' at 'im.
I am so sick and tired of bein' sick and tired and hungry.

You can be your own boss and employee too,
With nobody to tell you what to do.
Record and sell your own CD,
Start your own recording company.

I think I'll call mine "Starvin' For Your Attention Productions".

So if you're lookin' for a brand new job,
And you don't want to beg or steal or rob,
Take my advice, here's what to do,
Become a street musician too!

But it'll cost ya.
I hear their thinkin' of raisin' the street musician permit fee
From $30 a year to $50 a year!
Looks like I gotta git a job, just to be able to afford
To play music on the street music fer a livin'.
Hmmm! Wusupwidat?

But if you worry about making money,
Better find yourself a rich little honey.
Then you can just sit around and play,
On your guitar all the livelong day.

Huh? What's that honey?
You want me to get a what?
How about I become a street musician?
Yep, that's what I thought you'd say.
How dare she use them four letter words around me,
Like w-o-r-k and a-j-o-b!

You can lose a lot of weight playin' music on the street.
Cuz sometimes you can't make enough to afford to eat.
I saw a bunch o' them buskers in the alley up the street.
They were so poor... I said they were so poor...
How poor were they?
They were so poor, they were sharin' one tiny, litle, twisted up, funny smellin' cigareet.

No comment!

Yes you can be weight watchers and watch me lose,
Hundreds of pounds whilst I'm singin' these blues.
I'll waste away right before your eyes,
Till my skin 'n' bones are fossilized.

Won't be enough left over to even attract the flies.
'S what I surmise.

Signed, Joe Street performer


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: reggie miles
Date: 24 Jul 08 - 01:31 AM

You can listen to the song at my EZ Folk website by clicking the following link. You Can Be A Street Musician.


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: Stewart
Date: 24 Jul 08 - 01:16 PM

Hi Reggie,

Nice song. Of course I've heard you sing it before.

Today is a rare day in Seattle - it's actually sunny!
So I'm headed out to the Fremont neighborhood this noon
to do a little busking. So why to do I do it?

It's a great practice session.
I want to play my best in front of other people,
but if I make a mistake with a mostly moving audience,
few notice, so it takes the pressure off.

It's great to be outside on a nice day,
doing something I enjoy - playing music.
And it's nice when someone comes up to me
and says "thanks, I've enjoyed it."

And the money -
Well, I don't really need it, I'm comfortably retired.
But it means that other people value it,
it's worth something. And I get enough for lunch,
and on a good day, enough to go down the street
to Dusty Strings and buy a CD (guilt-free spending).

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: oggie
Date: 24 Jul 08 - 05:29 PM

"Hi Nick... if you ask me, if you audition and get a licence... it is a gig, not busking... busking assumes that we own the road."

Depends on why you're doing it. Being based in York I know several of the buskers who make a comfortable living from it. Yes they have licences (and they have to buy a Street Trading Licence to sell their CDs) but they approach it as a job, which to them it is, and make a living from it. They reckon to make £50-£100 an hour between the hat and CD sales. The caveat is that they are good. They are polished and professional.

Steve


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Subject: RE: What compels a musician to busk?
From: Newport Boy
Date: 25 Jul 08 - 04:39 AM

A while ago, a friend of mine, excellent folk/jazz/pop/classical fiddler, was busking outside a branch of a major shoe retailer in Cardiff. After about 20 minutes, the manager came out to ask whether he could move along, because customers were reluctant to browse the window behind him.

He looked in his tin, and said "I reckon in another 10 minutes I'll have enough to buy my son a pair of shoes." Which he had, and he did!

Phil


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Mudcat time: 19 June 2:41 PM EDT

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