Archive for July, 2009

Apparently the word “busker” has yet another meaning.

According to The Urban Dictionary it doesn’t only mean a street performer but also an extremely ugly chick!

And they don’t mean this…

Not a busker

Not a busker

But rather this…

Busker in both meanings of the word

Busker in both meanings of the word

This dictionary entry explains why so many people visit this blog looking for total make-overs and stuff.

So if you are THAT kind of a busker, this is not the busker’s survival guide you are looking for.
But chances are you’re a busker in both senses of the word. If so then enjoy this blog!

If there is one thing al lot of artists want, it’s street credibility. Thanks to producers, songwriters, studio musicians, lip-sync and make-up artists, you don’t really need talent or be able to sing in key to become a superstar. But street credibility is one of those metaphysical qualities you just can’t put your finger on.

Buskers have tons of street credibility, they live and breath (and sometimes eat) the street! Showbizz-artists are quite jealous of this and so they steal their looks and behaviour from buskers. Remember the 90’s when every rock band started playing unplugged and thought they were buskers while selling millions of albums with acoustic covers of their own songs?

Rich and famous as they all may be, they wanna busk.
But they do it wrong…

Street credibility is not about drive-by-shooting another millionaire rapper from your limo because he dissed you in a song nobody can decipher the lyrics to anyway.

Nor is it dropping tv-sets from a five star hotel, when your tour manager paid up-front for the damage you make. (Most contracts stipulate a minimum of 5 tv’s per tour)
It isn’t flashing your genital or nipple area in front of paparazzi while leaving an exclusive club.

No, street credibility is… well like I said, it’s difficult to explain, but being a busker you know what I’m trying to say here.

Some artist have noticed this and start busking too. Check out Roisin Murphy (of Moloko fame).

What makes this not quite real busking, but a nice attempt is:

– buskers don’t bring a whole band
– buskers don’t bring a  BBC camera crew (it was broadcasted later)
Here’s another one by James Morrison busking for charity.

Yeah, the boy’s got talent but…

– buskers don’t bring mics and speakers that cost more than they make with busking for a year
– buskers don’t have press photographers lurking around

It mostly comes down to this, if an artist really wants to feel what it is like to be a genuine busker and gain the street credibility that comes with it, do it anonymous. Don’t warn your fans through your website and don’t bring the press.

When you know the feeling of being passed by uninterested people, when nobody applaudes after a song, when you really have to live from the coins in your guitar case, then you have busked. Then you’ve got street credibility.

That said, the short following clip features none-other then Paul McCartney doing exactly what I described (except I don’t think he really needs the money).

And here’s Bruce Springsteen in an unannounced guerilla street performance. Since he started out as a busker once, he doesn’t count as a busker-wannabe. He’s still got all the street cred he needs.

People have shown their artistic talents on the streets before the concept of a street was even invented. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when the first ‘real’ busker decided to lay his hat upside down on the sidewalk, but this post sheds some light on what might have happened.

Centuries ago, traders who sold their goods at markets and on the streets weren’t exactly familiar with marketing management and all that stuff companies use to let us buy expensive crap we don’t need. In the old days, the only way to lure clients was yelling and shouting. These yells became a personal trademark and people recognised them. Clients would go out and buy the sweet red roses, milk or African slaves the seller was yelling about.

A slightly romanticised video…

Seems not only buskers but also musicals have their roots in people who wake you up in the morning while yelling about the crap they sell.

Anyway, one of the villagers of Dublin’s fair city had a bright idea while listening to an girl called Molly Malone who sold cockles and mussels. She had a hit at the time with the song “Alive alive Oh, alive alive oh, selling cockles and mussels, alive alive oh”.
And the man thought: “What if I do the same thing, but just don’t sell anything? Surely there have to be people stupid enough to pay for it?”
And there were.

It was the first copyright violation of a song and after the girl died (apparently of some fever) the guy wrote some extra verses and the ultimate busker song started spreading like a wildfire and it is played by buskers till this day.

And the next generation is already into this busker classic, too!

Well, only 2 days ago I posted a “call to arms” directed at buskerettes (female buskers) and already these ladies found the way to my mailbox.

A short recap of the post they answered: buskers will be the only ones surviving a nuclear holocaust or mass extinction event, thanks to the hard-knock life they are used to live. Good news for the human race, were it not for the fact that there are too few female buskers around.

This is the kind of busker we'd like to repopulate the world with

This is the kind of busker we'd like to repopulate the world with

Some of the buskerettes already teamed-up with their male counterparts, awaiting 2012 and killing time amusing themselves and the doomed non-buskers with music.

1 buskerette per 2 buskers should be the minimal ratio

1 buskerette per 2 buskers should be the minimal ratio

The youth is the future: this counts triple for underage buskerettes!

Since the guitar case is closed an laying behind her, this isn't child labour.

Since the guitar case is closed an laying behind her, this isn't child labour.

Looking at these pictures, we can only be glad there is still hope for the human race!
Better yet, in the event of global annihilation, the offspring of the surviving buskerettes will be better looking and more talented than the avarage human being alive today…

See you in 2012, girls!

Why do artists that play gigs in clubs and festivals gain more female attention than buskers on the street? Is it because they are more talented? No, because its is well known that a large portion of buskers has more talent than the avarage band that sells out Wembley Stadium.

The reason is to be found thanks to simple mathematics

ARTIST + STAGE = GROUPIES

These are Tokio Hotel groupies. Would they still go wild over a hermaphrodite if he/she was a busker?

Imagine Tokio Hotel busking, how long would they survive?

ARTIST – STAGE = LONELY BUSKER

no stage = no girls

no stage = no girls

The important factor in this equation is the STAGE

Now that we know this, we have the solution to the problem of the groupiely challenged busker: play on a stage!

Don’t just look for a pitch and start busking, but take your own stage with you. This can be your guitar case or an empty crate of beer, anything will do to lift you up (figuratively and literally) from the passing crowd. Standing on (even an improvised) stage makes you look more important with every inch between you and the pavement.

An artist on a stage gets more attention, because people still seem to think that you’re only allowed to be on one when you’ve got talent or an important message. For some darwinistic reason, important and talented people are sexually attractive.

Also, it gives you an aura of being untouchable. Youngsters that normally pass by and throw stuff at you while you’re busking will now tell there friends: “Don’t mess with him man! Can’t you see he’s on a stage?”

The measurements of the stage (hight, depth, …) are proportional to the number of members of the opposite sex that will give you their cellphone number. But don’t think that saying “The world is my stage!”, means half the human population is at your feet. I’m talking about an actual, physically present stage here.

Don’t overdo it though. Keep it small. There’s no need to attract more girls/guys during one hour of playing than you’ve ever talked to before.

The downside of busking on a small stage is that people tend to think you’re probably hired by someone to play and that an artist like you will be insulted if given any money as if you were an ordinary busker.

So it’s your choice: is human affection more important than money? If it is… get on stage!

It is a well known fact that cockroaches and flamingos are the only species that will survive a nuclear holocaust, forming a small foodchain in which they both eat eachother. 

 Not in picture: Mad Max

Artist’s rendition of a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Not in picture: Mad Max

 But now a scientific study by the University of Disaintrou released some spectacular news: in case of an apocalyptic event (scheduled for 2012), it might be possible for some humans to survive as well.

Scientists wondered what kind of human being would be fit enough to stand tall in the event of a global catastrophy.

 These people had to have the following qualities:

– being able to endure harsh weather
– being used to live of scraps
– being accustomed to live in uncomfortable housing
– having natural survival skills
– being used to a nomadic existence

 All this pointed to one small segment of the human population: BUSKERS!

 The only problem is that, while flamingos and cockroaches are known to procreate quite easily, there just aren’t enough female buskers to repopulate the world!

 For the human race to endure it is imperative that STARTING TODAY new female buskers hit the streets!

It’s all in your hands now buskerettes… no matter what talent (if any) you want to share with the pedestrians of your hometown, go do it now! 2012 is just around the corner.

 And while you’re at it… try to get used to the taste of flamingo.

Being a busker is not just a job (in fact it’s not at all) but also a way of life (or a poor excuse for one).  
Here’s some advise on where to stand regadering life’s important topics. 

Politics

When the streets are crowded with people walking to and from the voting bureaus, it might be a better idea to busk instead of going to vote yourself. Should you feel the urge to vote anyway, consider these criteria before choosing a party to give your vote to.

– Vote for a party that supports art but doesn’t know an Estrukian bowl from a Tupperware. They will probably think you are a real artist too.

– Since the chances of you knocking-up a hot girl after a one-night-stand are slim, you might as well vote pro-life, unless you feel your mother should have had an abortion to spare you from a life as a busker.

– Vote for a party that doesn’t believe in the concept of a “selfmade man”. They feel good about supporting struggling minorities like buskers.

Religion

Pick any religion which says that the harder your life sucks now, the more awesome your afterlife will be. Avoid believing in any religion that promotes reincarnation. Because Karma and Poetic Justice will screw you over and make you come back as a busker every time.

Family Values

Busker family life is not your avarage happily married couple with 2.4 children (buskers are usually the 0.4’s). Regarding family values it is strongly advised you be good to your parents, for you will still live with them at age 38.

Principles

Consider becoming a vegetarian. Eating meat will give you a healthy blush and a well-fed look. That’s not the kind of busker people give money to. As a vegetarian, you become part of a large network of dreadlocked anti-globalists that can provide you with addresses of squatting houses to sleep in.

Sexual Orientation

 Although busking is not the part of showbizz that attracts gay men (try the musical scene) there’s no reason not to be.

“Well, it beats listening to a busker”

 With the little sex buskers have, it’s best to keep your options open. It’s a bit like being straight in jail: your best bet is faking to be bi-sexual.