Sunday, January 15, 2012

Bifel That in That Sesoun on a Day: An Essay on the Chaucerian Parade

In the 14th Century Geoffrey Chaucer wrote The Canterbury Tales, a collection of stories that describe a troupe of pilgrims traveling to the shrine of St. Thomas Becket at the Canterbury Cathedral. The Canterbury Tales, the most famous writing of Chaucer, is considered by scholars to be a literary masterpiece. Through these tales that describe a knight, a miller, a reeve, a cook, a man of law, a wife, and others, Chaucer paints a comical and ironic portrait of English culture and economics during his time.

Though the act of busking is filled with vagaries; the sidequest of people watching is a constant joy. As a buskologist, I know that any of my pitches, through which any potential consumers pass, present vista and vis-à-vis portraits, an empirical anthropology of all layers of society, including myself. A sub-title Inspired by Geoffrey Chaucer, An Essay on the Chaucerian Parade, I shall offer some one-dimensional highlights of my consumers in just a one-hour busk this past week.

-The plain-clothes security guard flips, with his thumb, coins into my banjitar case. Should be a good game tonight, he states. He is referring to the World Junior hockey game between Russian and Canada.

-Your music always sounds so nice, says an elderly lady as she tosses me some coins.

-.Two young ladies, dressed to the nines pass by. One gives me a big smile.

-A panhandler walks up. Got a light? he asks.

-Hey, Neil, how’s it going? shouts a former colleague from across the way.

-Too bad you’re a Boston fan, states a middle-age fellow. He is referring to my Boston outdoor classic jersey. Number 4, Bobby Orr, I reply. Number 4, Jean Belliveau, he quips.

-A young man throws a mitt full of change into my case.

-A little girl offers me a toonie. She is with her father who says he used to busk on the Causeway in Victoria, British Columbia. He was a sailor, and he busked with his bagpipes on weekends. (And that makes a community of four who live in Regina and have been busking on the streets in Victoria: Devon-guitarist, Allan-bagpiper, Baron-bongaro, and myself-banjitarist.)

-A car pulls up. It is the two young ladies who were dressed in the nines. The one who had previously given me the big smile asks if she can take my picture, after which she hands me five dollars.

-A police officer, Kevin, stops by for a quick visit – We were both, at one time, members of the scuba diving community.

-A camera and one-person crew from Global approaches me. He takes my picture and states that I look and sound great. (Over the next few days people stop and tell me they’ve seen and heard me on a television clip; they say that I looked and sounded great – I watch for it, but to no avail.)

-I break a string. I stop my busking for the day and go over to B Sharp, where the technicians give me a free fix. As I am visiting, Dustin, of the Dustin Ritter Band, gives me a copy of his latest CD – for free.

I have read that those consumers with higher education offer more coins than consumers with lesser academic learning, suggesting tony versus troglodyte I suppose. This, in my busking experiences, is not true. I have also read that buskers provide, for those who galumph or glide by, a tonic to relieve the stress of consumerism in general. This, I believe as I thrum, is true. And so

Bifel that in that sesoun on a day … Redy to wenden on my Buskingdom …

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