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Old 03-11-01, 07:36 PM   #1
stickman
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Angry Attack onstreet performers. FHM magazine

(Noticed this article after suggesting the magazine to a few people in a news shop, where my girlfriend works. Feel free to voice your opinions at www.fhm.com this obviously isn't my personal opinion. You can also email the editor directly at dave.mclaughlin@fhm.com

Legalities aside, this is the article.)

The Scrounger FHM p208 Apr 2001

Like a formidable hobo army, todays street theatre of beggars and buskers is the modern equivilant of highwaymen. They may have replaced flint lock pistols with ironic signs ("Need money for beer & drugs!")or the three stringed guitar renditions of "Here comes the sun," but the terror caused is the same...
THE PROBLEM: Any ill will you feel (why don't they get an accountancy degree and work in fiance like me? etc..) is always coupled with miggling guilt. After all, they're probally only making you late for a swanky meal in a warm restaurant with a women who doesn't have any weeping sores.
THE SOLUTION: The answer is sanctioned by Jack Straw himself - so it must to morally equitable. Last year, the Home office launched a campaign to stop the people giving money to tramps. "Remember", says spokesman Tim Watkinson, "That begging is controlled by the Vagrancy Act 1894. If you feel threatened, you can report it to the police, who have the powers to move people on" The Governments Rough Sleepers Unit is more sympathetic: "Aggressive begging can be particularly unpleasent." says a spokesman. "In those situations, we suggest people politely decline, and just walk away"
GO NUCLEAR! Offer the money - perhaps dangling it tantalizingly out of reach - but only on the condition that he/she do something undignified to earn it. Start at uggling - then depending on the amount, move onto Cossack dancing or mimin the lyrics to 'Bohemian Rhapsody' Of course, you may find this creul - its that "perspective" thing again.

(Photo: Oddies pirate ship was crap)
Author: Chris Bell - Power to the People pp202-208

(Personally this article made me sick, though the opinion is one we've all heard before. If anyone knows the person in the photograph. "Oddies pirate ship" let him know his picture is being used as the intro, and the legal issues is publishing a picture without permission. If he didn't sign rights away, which for some reason I doubt.)

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[This message has been edited by stickman (edited 03-11-2001).]
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Old 03-12-01, 06:13 AM   #2
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thanks for sharing that stick-man,
it makes me mad that people with influence abuse their position by publishing lame un-thought-out, one sided disinformative articles like that,
A few years ago , I was in Spain, the shows were going great and I was living comfortably on my hats and the crowds were enthusiastic, one day we turned up to pitch and the vibe was different somehow, we couldn't really get the crowd together and when we could the hats were way down, we were perplexed until a local told us there had been an article in the local paper describing street traders as pick-pockets, thiefs and heroin addicts ,although the article itself didn't make a reference to jugglers and acrobats, we had to work hard to avoid being tarnished with the same brush,
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Old 03-12-01, 12:12 PM   #3
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Ok, I havent seen the picture that is mentioned, but it seems to me that this article (what I've just read on the post)doesn't really pertain to buskers. Not saying that it doesnt happen, but as a busker, I run into people like the article describes, and they fit the bill. People who randomly ask people, passive or aggressive, for money on the street are not buskers, they're bums! if a busker's picture was used, then i can see some cause for alarm, but buskers don't work that way. We EARN a living by using our skills and our art. just my opinion.
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Old 03-13-01, 02:19 PM   #4
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Think about it from the average person's standpoint. There are at least 100 full-time beggars to every busker. And some beggars try to pose as buskers. There is a huge grey area (or silver area) with human statues and karioke singers etc.

Sometimes I tell spare changers that, them being an aggressive beggar makes my job harder.

It's interesting that people will pay money to a corporate magazine to tell them not to pay money to poor people.
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Old 03-16-01, 12:11 PM   #5
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Hay larry, this verry mutch means us,
"Like a formidable hobo army, todays street theatre of beggars and buskers..."
You spend hundreds of hours working on your act, 1000.+ $ on props and costumes, and to these people you are nothing better than a hi tech begger. and are just as offencive as the guy with the coffie cup, smelling of piss laying in the subway. Or wors still, that bum is doun on his luck, you CHOSE to not have a REAL job and so are mutch more of a threat to the way things SHOULD run.

boy I hate this shit
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Old 03-17-01, 11:20 AM   #6
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I am honestly shocked and appalled.

How can someone offer such a onesided, uneducated view of busking? We, having put 1000s or hours of practice and dedicating our hearts and souls to our art are placed on the same level as the tin cup panhandler.

Is there any way to contact the publishers of the article?

Daniel
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Old 03-17-01, 04:30 PM   #7
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Hold on to your hats, my fellow street rats. I saw another biased article in a magazine. It took my breath away. It was about a completely different topic. It was very onesided and unresearched. Oh, if I could only remember which magazine would do such a thing. We look to magazines to inform us on important subjects such as current events and how to choose the best lip color. Luckily, our newspapers and television dailies haven't been tainted with such literary rusty knives. We can still depend on them to instill in us the truths about how miserable this world is.

Because of these two instances of improper journalism, I have descided that magazines are no longer good reading material. I now cut out everything but the ads, stay home, and watch the current weather on tv when not discussing world enhancing topics on the information super highway (the internet).
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Old 03-19-01, 05:21 AM   #8
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Is there any way to contact the publishers of the article?

Yes there is! FHM has a web site and a letters to the editor section. I believe both were included in the original article. However Your can comment at http//www.fhm.com

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Old 04-09-01, 03:01 AM   #9
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My letter to David McLaughlin, editor of FHM magazine. I thought this was a work of art. Thought I'd share:

________________________________________

Dear Mr. McLaughlin:

I have recently been made aware of an article entitled "The Scrounger" by Chris Bell in your April, 2001 issue of FHM, page 208.

This article calls, in a stereotyping, blanket statement, that all street entertainers are "thieves, beggars, [and incapable entertainers]". This attitude is obviously misinformed, unresearched, and/or blatantly libelous.

I have been a street entertainer for the last 15 years. In that time, I have performed all over the world on the street, at amusement parks, at the United States Vice Presidential Mansion, for Ringling Bros., Barnum & Bailey Circus (arguably one of the best, as well as most financially solvent circus in the world) and at Disneyland in California. Anyone with a morsel of business sense knows none of those institutions would survive by hiring the sort of people described in your magazine's article of hateful propaganda. They survive--and thrive--in no small part by hiring quality entertainers such as myself and many of my colleagues.

True; there are some people working the streets who are agressive, cacaphonous, and downright annoying. Sometimes it's lack of experience; sometimes it's some sort of social miasma that fuels such behavior. But there are agressive, cacaphonous and downright annoying people in any profession. Chris Bell's ignorant, bigoted attitude indicates to me that he quite possibly is the one for the magazine writing profession.

Street entertainment is an art that has been around for hundreds, and probably thousands of years. Personally, I'm out to make an honest, respectable living, as have other past street performers, such as Penn & Teller, Robin Williams, Harry Anderson, Steve Martin, The Flying Karamozov Brothers, and Eddie Izzard. Rumor-mongering such as this article hurts people who have spent years working on our craft, which in turn makes city life more lively. His recommendation that one should humiliate a street entertainer is juvenile at best, hostile at worst, and rather self-defeating, when you consider he could be discouraging a future musical or comic genius, who might end up giving up their art to take a desk job, perhaps as a frustrated, cynical magazine writer.

I am sorry that you were so close to a deadline that this slipped by you without exercising proper editorial prudence, as I'm sure that if you had enough time to consider it, you would have axed this piece of crap.

Good day,
Rich Potter
Comedy, Juggling and Other Disasters

P.S. A retraction would be nice.
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Old 04-09-01, 01:37 PM   #10
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That was GREAT!!! thanks for writing such a letter...it is a very well written and hopefully they will at least publish it if not retract their pig headedness.

-Frisbee
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Old 04-12-01, 02:32 PM   #11
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That article gives us performers our dose
of the same sh## the bourgoise democracies
have been giving to virtually every group
in society that uses public space for any
reason.Bus riders,students,protesters,strikers,poor
people who can't afford to buy and therefore
are not allowed into 99% of the buildings in our cities,they are all familiar with this
strategy of attack.The harsh busking bylaws
in Vancouver are the first time in my performing life that buskers have been dealt
this same bitter pill in a systematic way.How many groups can the rulers attack and
alienate before they lose all legitimacy in the
eyes of the ruled?
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Old 04-13-01, 02:47 AM   #12
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The harsh busking bylaws in Vancouver are the first time in my performing life that buskers have been dealt this same bitter pill in a systematic way.

Remember when they were first introducing those laws. Oringally developed my show on Robson St/Gastown oringally as a walk-by. At the time, I was the only one who protested. Everybody else was going on about regulation, helping to weed out the bad performers. (won't mention who else was around, you know who you are) Did a 3 month Canadain tour last summer, unfortunitly had to work Seattle instead of the old pitch since it seems almost my enitre act was banned. No knifes/fire/baseball bats/etc... Granville Island still exists, but I've yet to manage to use one of the many permits over the years. Brian Adams tried to come home many years ago and do a free concert in Stanley park, city banned him as well.

Not sure if that puts us in good company or not, but at least they're willing to screw everybody.

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Old 04-13-01, 10:31 AM   #13
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You know,
I think it was Men's Health that had an article about how to hit on a street performer in which it detailed the writer's persuance of a female street clown. So what. Who cares.
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