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Old 08-10-03, 10:06 AM   #1
Brian R Wilson
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Apple Article Ottawa Citizen - "Buskers Ungrateful"

Here's an article that popped into the Ottawa Citizen two days after the Busker Festival. It might make you reconsider your hat pitch.

"Buskers Ungrateful"
As a great fan of street performers, I recently took my two teenagers and my nine-year-old daughter to the Sparks Street Busker Festival. We raided the change jar, so each of the children had $1 for each performer and I took enough to give each busker $4. I was shocked when two buskers announced that they "did not want my change." They were looking for bills. My family was willing to give $7 to the performers and yet change was unacceptable. My nine-year-old had trouble understanding why she couldn't put her money in the hat when she had enjoyed the show. My child was taught a poor lesson about people that day.

Yet there were buskers who would take whatever we could afford - thank you. With great joy, my child ran up to them to throw the jingling coins into their hats. I hope it is their message that will stay with her.

In the future, all the performers should realize that change is money and whatever a family is able to give is better than nothing at all. We did enjoy the performances, but the attitude of some left a bad taste in everyone's mouth and in the end, the buskers' actions cost them some income.

Ann Noonan, Kars
Ottawa Citizen - Wednesday August 6th, section B2 - editorials.
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Old 12-26-03, 01:45 PM   #2
Charles - Corporate Entertainer
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I sometimes play around with adults who give small amounts of change, but NEVER with the kids.

Young children are the easiest members of an audience to provoke reactions by other, harder to please, members. Make the child laugh and smile and even the staunchest old bugger at the back will soften his outlook a little.

If an adult offers me a tiny amount of change, AFTER lots of others have put money in the hat, I sometimes take a larger amount, say a dollar or two, or a note, and give it him from the hat.

I tell him he obviously needs it more than I do.

That's it. I don't say how I don't want his change, or anything else, just focus on the fact that he may need financial help.

Of course, he ALWAYS puts the money back in the hat, and often drops a bit more in afterwards too.

If, for any reason, he does need the money, I would be happy for him to keep it too.
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Old 02-25-04, 01:44 PM   #3
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UK

"Yet there were buskers who would take whatever we could afford - thank you. With great joy, my child ran up to them to throw the jingling coins into their hats. I hope it is their message that will stay with her.

In the future, all the performers should realize that change is money and whatever a family is able to give is better than nothing at all. We did enjoy the performances, but the attitude of some left a bad taste in everyone's mouth and in the end, the buskers' actions cost them some income".
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Brian..What CAN Isay??!!
Coming from a family background where [lack of] money was always an issue, and my parents INSISTED that if ONE child had an icecream / whatever.. we ALL had one... I recall how we would have EACH be given a small proportion of what would go into a performer's hat.. in order that we could ALL participate in the process of THANKING / APPRECIATING / ACKNOWLEDGING their efforts..

I can't speak for other parts of the world, but I DO know that here, in the UK, everytime that MY hat contains coinage which add up to 100 pennies, that's ANOTHER Pound Stirling towards my income!!

I ALWAYS smile and express my thanks, because from a young age I was taught that having done the work.. I am ENTITLED to hold out my hand and accept the payment for it.. with a smile..

When it all comes down to money, alone, and I lose my perspective... I shall simply STOP performing, rather than putting out such negativity!!.. Though I trust that day will never come!!

Have FUN out there!!

[and REMEMBER.. INTELLIGENCE IS A POOR COUSIN TO UNDERSTANDING ]
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Old 01-14-05, 05:41 PM   #4
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Guitar American Money sucks

One of the reasons American Buskers might complain about their tips is the fact that American coins are vertually worthless. In Europe where I perform there are coins that are worth close to $3.00. People throw them as an American might throw a quarter. At the end of a working day these coins can add up to a respectable sum. Paper currency is not gives so readly except if one is selling cd's. In the days before the Euro however things were different especially in countries like Italy, Belgium, Spain and a few others. Italy was always amusing because it took about 2000 lire to equal one dollar and the coins were valueless. Italians many times gave a few 1000 Lire bills as a tip so at the end of the day it would be possible to have many, many, many of these small and usually beat to shit bits of paper money. Bag fulls of the stuff. Going to the bank to try to get rid of it was always a joke too and sometimes a problem. Generally I find that people prefer to give buskers pocket change so it is an advantage to work in a country where the change has a high value...................if possible. See you all in Europe
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Old 01-15-05, 02:58 PM   #5
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I've never said anything about not wanting change. I do drop the "hint, hint $20" jokes and then sugjest a few dollars as a reasonable tip. then I tell them in all seriousness that a simple complement will do if that's all they can give. I've always done this (hat lines have been fairly consistang for the last three years). In my early days I made a lot of change, and now I don't. so... I think people just respond more to a strong show than guilt trip hat lines.

I heard that peter panic collects his money in a fishing net to prevent coins. now that's funy.
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Old 01-15-05, 09:24 PM   #6
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hey,
I have a funny story to tell about. I have been in Holland (Amsterdam). Every performer talk about bills of 10 in his money line. So after a view time, I try, and it works. So, then I went to Germany (Cologne). In my first show, I used by accident, the same money line. Half of my crowd was pissed of and they just walked away. So, I used my old money line in the next show's. And the funny thing was, I maked the same money, but everybody goes home happy. This is how life goes.

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Old 05-07-05, 08:55 AM   #7
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[quote]Originally posted by Evan Young
[b]I've never said anything about not wanting change. I do drop the "hint, hint $20" jokes and then sugjest a few dollars as a reasonable tip. then I tell them in all seriousness that a simple complement will do if that's all they can give. I've always done this (hat lines have been fairly consistang for the last three years). In my early days I made a lot of change, and now I don't. so... I think people just respond more to a strong show than guilt trip hat lines.

Personally, I avoid any mention of money in my act. People tend to give more and more often when they don't feel like they're being hustled. We've had some busker's come through here begging like junkies...

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Old 05-07-05, 05:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Glenn Orange
[Personally, I avoid any mention of money in my act. People tend to give more and more often when they don't feel like they're being hustled. [/b]
I've never heard anybody say that before. I guess that could work for a more passive act (not a circle show).
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Old 05-08-05, 05:55 AM   #9
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"Personally, I avoid any mention of money in my act. People tend to give more and more often when they don't feel like they're being hustled."

Mentioning money doesn't make people feel like they are being hustled. Hustling them does.
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Old 05-08-05, 03:32 PM   #10
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Make people want to give you money. It might be a bad aproach to try and make them feel like they owe you money.
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Old 05-08-05, 04:42 PM   #11
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Guitar Is your show worth the price of a cup of coffee

I'm a musician playing in Europe and I've been sharing pitches with jugglers for years. Just about all the ones I've ever heard have long and strong hat lines. The amusing ones are the most successful. Of course here in Europe you can ask the audiance if your worth the price of a cup of coffee or a beer. That works well because coffee and beer sometimes cost up th five dollars in local money.
Cheers Ya'll Dr. Harmonica
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Old 05-08-05, 10:25 PM   #12
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I try never to mention money more than just the fifteen or siixteen times within the opening five minutes, because more than that just puts 'em off. (Not counting the chanting.)
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Old 05-09-05, 06:37 AM   #13
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I've used this one for a while now (it only works if you say it with a shit-eating grin, though)
"Hey Kids! If your parents give you change, go ahead and keep it!"
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Old 05-09-05, 10:34 AM   #14
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Hay Mr. taxi....Is that all...Your just a light weight. I know some folks who only talk about money. In fact their whole show is based on a money rap. Performing would only get in the way. Maybe we should start a new subject....something more interesting then money like getting laid...
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Old 05-10-05, 08:38 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Evan Young
I've never heard anybody say that before. I guess that could work for a more passive act (not a circle show).
Never done a circle show; I'm just a solo guitar player and, admittedly, only been busking for about 6 months. I just feel it's undignified to ask for money. I make them want to give me money by giving my absolute best performance, which in the end is all I can do. I play my best, and they either WILL or WILL NOT tip me. Begging just lowers me from performing musician to something else.
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Old 05-10-05, 09:26 AM   #16
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It helps when you live in a country that tips.

As a walkby with a hat out in Oz you'll get tips but it's just working for charity if you try not hatting a circle show. People think your paid by the council or something similar.

99% of the audience will walk, not out of spite, just not thinking about it. They probably enjoyed the show!

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Old 05-10-05, 11:09 AM   #17
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Guitar more money madness

Dear Mr.. Glen Orange. It is painfully obvious that you are just a rookie in this business. The longer you do it the the sooner that you will realize that there is no such thing as begging. It is called educating. Teaching the public that they have a moral responsibility to respect your talent and pay you a fair wage otherwise you might be forced into a life of crime and have to mug them some dark night.......or sell drugs.....or steal their car radios ....It's up to them to keep you from that life of crime.....Therefore don't be shy. If you have a good audience and they don't pay. Insult them, harass them, beg them, threaten them. do what ever it takes because in the end only one thing is important............THE MONEY
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Old 05-10-05, 07:30 PM   #18
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Lurk Whistle while you work

Given Glens admitted working the streets for only 6 months its painfully obvious to point out that its painfully obvious he's a rookie.
I've met whores who let customers shit in their mouths because at the end of the day its only about one thing...the money.
Glen, perhaps start slowly and expand your comfort zone gradually. Do you have people stopping? Try eye contact. Try some sort of written notice. Try anything that extends your relationship with the audience. Of course if you include dylan covers I'll just withdraw and leave you to continue being savaged by the rock god.
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Old 05-10-05, 10:53 PM   #19
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And if you do perform Dylan covers, please include "Queen Jane", as I consider it a tad overlooked. I'm also one to stop for a John Prine cover, though, so it's painfully obvious that I'm a nebbish, and an easy mark.

It is possible, what you seek. I watched a harp player working Harvard Square one night, and she simply played. She was extraordinary, gifted, and a member of an orchestra, seeking release, kicks, or dates, I suppose. She did smile and nod, but that was the extent of it. People were asking things like "Hey, wasn't that Rachmannanov's 67.49th movement?" more to prove their savvy natures than for any real contact, and as she nodded, they rained it on her. Whoa, the weight of it, watching them wheeeling over fives upon fives.

Tomco doesn't say much, but what he says is dry as sand, and funny, on unassuming levels. (refreshing, in the street.) He does wonders with candles, too. Plays the trapezoidal money box.

Love them, grasshopper. Exude love. be a source of love. People desperately want to be loved by you. Let every note communicate love, everything else will follow.

You'll find that "begging" is a term that meets with mixed reviews here. We're a proud bunch, we are fond of what we provide people, and are unafraid of informing them of their need for it. Many of us here have tried your preferred way, of just perform really great stuff, and the money will follow. It has proved helpful to kind of nudge that generosity impulse along. Really helpful.

God, Martin, you've known some Lulus. Letting people shit in their mouths? Jesus, that's almost as bad as selling timeshares.
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Old 05-10-05, 11:36 PM   #20
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Lurk You really ought to gargle after work

Well I never knew her in the biblical sense, we just bumped into each other at some party and you know how it goes. "So what do you do?" she asked.
"Why I'm a successful international disgruntled pantomime....and you?"
"Oh nothing THAT exciting! no I just injest the fresh feces of strangers for cash...can I freshen that for you?"
We were just like colons excavating in the night.
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