What Buskers Can Learn From Pete Doherty

Posted: August 5, 2009 in 1
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Yesterday I and thousands of other people paid big money to … watch a busker perform on a stadium sized stage!
Yes it’s true, hordes of music lovers were glad to pay to watch one man with an acoustic guitar perform for an hour and a half.

Well, sure it was the notorious Pete(r) Doherty of Libertines and Babyshambles fame and not some busker they found on the street. But that made me start to think what does he have that buskers lack?

Talent of course (I’m a bit of a fan myself), as well as a singer, guitar player and songwriter. But how many times haven’t we seen and heard a lowlife busker with skills that could make him the next Bob Dylan?  And I know that according to the press nearly everyone in the vicinity of a guitar is the next Bob Dylan, but evenso…

Anyway, I believe I was able to pinpoint exactly what it was that made us stand in awe for Doherty: his private life. Or what the British excuse for objective newsgathering wants us to believe is his private life. A lot of people weren’t there to hear his songs, but just to see if he would make it to the stage.

-“I heard he’s in jail”
– “No, I read he’s gone cold turkey in a rehab center”
– “You’re full of shit… I just got texted that he doesn’t want to leave his hotel room before someone scores him some crack.”
– “That’s a lot of bull, man! He fell unconsious after painting a canvas with his own blood.”

That’s the kind of conversation that was going on around me.

When he DID arrive (on time even) and he seemed to be in the best shape you can imagine someone like Pete Doherty to be in, there was even an air of disappointment going around.

– “Now I can’t tell my friends he was too cool to show up!”
– “He doesn’t seem to be high either!”
– “Damn… his voice and guitar playing are more than tolerable.”
– “Yeah, what a total rip off. He’s not even drunk.”
– “He might still get arrested for possession.”
– “Yeah you’re right. Let’s watch the rest of the show. He might still do something totally junky.”
– “How does this camera of my cell phone work? Yes, I’m ready: ‘Tell us to fuck off Pete!'”

The Peter Doherty the audience wished to see

The Peter Doherty the audience wished to see

But he didn’t. He loved us and we started to love him as a real artist, not as the drug icon we always read about.

The clean(?) and well-mannered Pete the audience got

The clean(?) and well-mannered Pete the audience got

So what’s the point of this post?

Well, buskers can learn something from this. Build an image: take drugs, date models, get kicked out of airplanes, bars and tv-shows, get arrested, punch photographers in the face, diss other artists, create unconventional art with bodily fluids, …

Maybe most of you already did all this (except the model dating of course), but make a reputation for yourself, even if it is totally fake. And when people come to see that weird asshole they heard some much bad things about, grab there attention, show them what you’re really made of and play a great show!

It works for Pete.

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