Tuesday, February 24, 2009

They sure don't make buskers like they used to.

Busking just ain't the way it used to be, if the last busker I walked out on is at all representative.

This guy from Noo York spent about 20 minutes building up the audience - asking us to make loud, appreciative noises to attract passers-by, describing in mildly comedic terms what he was going to do ( he was an escape artist apparently), selecting volunteers to be the butts of his so-so jokes. Then I got bored and tired of standing around waiting, and moved on. I bet this guy only had one trick in his whole act. Okay, he did do one magic trick, but it was so unremarkable I nearly forgot about it.

Now, in my day, as a veteran busker might say, a busker would put his hat on the pavement and perform one trick after another, whether it be pulling scarves out of a lady's bra or pulling a balloon over his head. They didn't try to pull in an audience by asking a couple of bystanders to pretend they were having a good time; they did it by giving the bystanders a good time. Now that's the kind of busker I'd throw my coins at.

But what I saw in the weekend reminded me of that scene in Bedknobs and Broomsticks where Mr Brown the street conjuror sings "It really doesn't matter what I do, what I do, as long as I do it...with a flair" at his stoney-faced audience. Yeah, style over substance - it's really over-rated.

5 comments:

donnasoowho said...

arrrggghh you just made me have a flash back to 'council has repossessed Kenny's amp' (is he still there?). And that guy who does juggling down Courtney Place.

We saw these AWESOME buskers a while ago called the English Gents who did this totally amazing acrobatics show. I think I gave them $10.

Michelle said...

When I was in New York I noticed most of the buskers were musicians, and they were mostly in the subway. My favorite was the 'Saw Lady' - a woman who plays the musical saw. She keeps a blog about what happens when she busks: www.sawlady.com/blog

Violet said...

donnasoowho: yeah...nah - Kenny has not been back. I haven't seen that juggler either. But the naked guy who used to tap a stick, he's still around. someone bought him a pair of undies so he could stay on the street.

michelle: I prefer the musicians. But I won't give money if they choose crappy songs.

Nigel Patel said...

There is a Kids in the Hall tour video that I'm positive features a Detroit busker.
Singing "Tainted Love". Makes me proud.

Angela said...

Isn't that the truth