Natural Enemies: The Busker’s Nemeses (PART I)

Posted: July 20, 2009 in 1
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Every busker has a substantial rogues gallery ranging from shop owners to cops and stray dogs, but his real enemies are other street performers, for the sole reason that they are more interesting than a busker.

This is a list of the busker’s archenemies.

1. The Mime

Well, not only buskers suffer from the presence of mimes. The whole population does. But as a busker you can’t just give up a lucrative spot just to get away from someone who’s constantly pretending to walk down an invisible stair.

Did you know that some mimes are actually a band with names such as “Mr. Mute and the Invisible Walls”, with the difference that the singer makes no sound and the rest of the band are his imaginary friends.

Mimes are slightly more interesting to look at than a busker in the same sense that a turd on the pavement deserves more attention than a candy wrapper, for he purpose of avoiding it.

Mimes are popular with ignorant children and most of the money they earn is donated by children under 5. This is also a large part of the donators of a busker, which makes the mime an enemy not to underestimate.

2. The Living Statue

Living statues earn money doing as little as possible. Wearing greenish outfits covered in (hopefully) fake pigeon shit, they are the vertical equivalent of a coma patient. People give them money just to watch them move. That would be like giving money to a busker to make him stop singing. Yes, even inanimate people get more attention than a busker and thus more money. It’s tempting to steal their income, but as immobile as they may seem, they will chase you even if it ruins their act.

3. Marching Bands

Imagine singing a delicate lovesong on your favourite sidewalk when suddenly there errupts the sound of 20 trumpets, 40 snaredrums, 10 horns, 15 tubas and 5 portable bass drums.

Marching bands are not only annoying just because they are present, but because they ruin your performance as well. They are a hundred times louder than you, they outnumber you a hundred to one and they move around. That makes you look like a bb-gun next to a nuclear bomb.

People cheer and wave, children march along and in the end you see that they trampled your guitar case and kicked the little money you earned in the gutter.

  1. Street performers says:

    You know all us street performers call ourselves buskers, not just you guitarists!

    • buskerstef says:

      Well, let’s just say that alle you other street performers really have talent and should be proud enough to call yourselfs genuine street performers in stead of just “buskers” 😉

      This blog is mainly aimed at the guitar buskers, but in the future I might expand that. It’s just that I myself am a guitar player so that’s the stuff I know most about.

  2. Ian says:

    You really see other performers as being your enemies? I don’t know what city you’re based out of but that’s a crappy way of dealing with people who are basically your co-workers.

    Perhaps you should befriend the mimes that apparently swarm your town and they will loiter for less time in front of you while playing.

    • buskerstef says:

      Hmmm, it appears it is not quite clear that this is actually a tongue-in-cheek, satirical, self-mocking blog not to be taken quite so seriously. Maybe I should start using smileys that point out if something is supposed to be read with a wink, a nod or a smile.

  3. I counted once on Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz: 9 guitars. Actually I got 9-1/2 somehow but I forget now how I arrived at the 1/2.

    So I’ve decided to play a noble instrument: The banjo. Although I’ll always harbor a secret lust for a Fender Telecaster.

    Good blog! Keep it up!

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