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Old 09-23-01, 02:31 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: on the road
Posts: 522
Post reflection

[This thread began in Announcements, but it seemed like a good time to bring it over here. Jim, please lock the old thread.]

I agree with you 100% Jonny. The fragmentation you speak of: buskers simply looking out for #1 for years' on end, rarely willing to share information without getting something equal (or even better) in return, just continues the cycle of restless "individualism" you speak of. Terrible that this is the first thing most newbies are introduced to, this unwillingness to mentor without strings attached. It is a concept that is foreign to me, and it has been eating at me for years.

The reason it bothers me so much must stem from the fact that I was mentored by a retired actor whose career began as a side player in the original Hal Roach "Our Gang" comedies. This was back when I was 12-years-old, or about 20 years before I started busking. By that time I had already been singing in school events and learning magic for a few years. Twelve was about the time I began taking money for my magic, doing birthday parties, etc.

But how can you forget something like that? How could I ever repay? Forget that, how could I ever place a value on his time and the confidence he inspired in me?

And when I began busking 7 years ago I pretty much had the streets of Atlanta to myself, with small exceptions. So there was a time when I had absolutely no one to relate to, to ask questions of, etc. But this also kept me from getting caught up in the less attractive issues like pitch wars, "borrowed" lines or jokes, etc.

And after Atlanta I anchored a (then) new pitch in Clearwater, Florida, where the city was trying to copy the famous sunset celebrations of Key West. Altogether I lived and worked there about 2 years, with one summer away to work 2 Canadian festivals.

And since the festival was new there were quite a few visiting buskers coming around after hearing about it on the grapevine. And there I was, offering my home, telephone, bicycle, shower; showing the best places to park for free and the cheapest restaurants; news on the nearest festivals and shopping centers... and at sunset we flipped a coin to see who got the best times.

It was only after this incubation period that I really began to travel, and it did not take long to get a taste of how the rest of the busking world operated: Physical threats in New Orleans, Venice Beach and San Francisco; territorial madness in Sydney, Melbourne and Amsterdam. And enough backbiting and back stabbing to last many lifetimes.

And it doesn't take Mr Holmes to see that the unsavory behaviour by many members of this board simply mirrors what goes on on the street. Jealous? petty? harboring imaginary grudges? No problem, just bring them to cyberspace where you can say anything you like while hiding behind a faceless alias. Heck, you don't even have to be a busker to sling mud, just log on and make something up as you go along!

Yet I still find so much to love about this lifestyle. I certainly don't see myself quitting anytime soon, but I will definitely be making some changes in what I do, who I do it with, and most of all what I will be willing to put up with. Life has proven to be much too short and unpredictable to clutter it with waste of any kind. Time, least of all.

Who knows -- maybe I will come into a new city myself one day and be offered a shower, a bed, a nice restaurant and the flip of a coin? (Not holding my breath, though.)
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Old 03-22-02, 10:26 AM   #2
willie the clown
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: on the road
Posts: 29

oh yes sir i can relate! i have experienced the about those silver guys on the wharf,geez what a bunch of guys! the way i see it, it's the audience that matters,to hell with a bunch of crusty old bastards who don't love thier craft but have completely become all about the money, yuppie buskers? well,anyway,when your green you grow ,when your ripe you rot! see you on the streets of san francisco,where the hell is carl maldin anyway? willie
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