Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Resolutions: An Essay On Self Mands For The Busker

A mand, according to psychologist B.F. Skinner, is a form of verbal behavior that is controlled by deprivation. Example #1: Asking for water when you are thirsty. Example #2: Opening the door when you hear a loud knock. Example #3: Playing yet another song when someone in your audience gives you the thumbs up.

Traditionally, the New Year is the time for people to make New Year's resolutions, self mands so to speak. All of you buskers, especially need to partake in this annual ritual. Here are some New Year's self mands for my fellow buskers:

  • I resolve to continually recognize that nothing is permanent.

Not my job; not my relationships; not my health. When I used to coach soccer I coined the phrase, A team is only as strong as the season is long. This phrase, to me, is pragmatic to all things in life.

  • I resolve to continually write new songs.

It does not matter that writing songs is really hard work for me. When I busk I strive to play only original compositions, and in doing so, my particular renditions of my own particular songs, are never up for comparison to others' covers.

  • I resolve to continually change my venues.

Spring and Summer days are great for busking – Autumn and Winter are not. To keep up my playing and singing skills, and my repartee with an audience, I need to get inside gigs for Winter. I do have a few coffee houses in which I have ample opportunities to thrum, and I ought to do so on a regular basis.

  • I resolve to continually go on buskations.

Buskations are the best! They can be bad (see my August 14th, A Bruno Buskation: An Essay On The Joys Of Rustic Busking,) and they can be bang-up (see my October 24th,The Bag Lady And The Busker: An Essay On Social Strata). Bad or bang-up, this Spring/Summer I plan on a few buskations to Banff, Alberta!

And to close, a last 2010 toast to you, buskers:

May all your troubles last as long as your New Year's resolutions!

(Joey Adams)

No comments:

Post a Comment