Friday, April 6, 2012

GOLDEN RULES: An Essay on Behaviors in the Buskerhood

'Tis drizzmal again today and rather than weather the strum in the flesh, I shall present my martinet buskologist view of how we ought to be behave, whether we are or not, actually strumming in the rain.

For us to flourish as beings, some Golden Rules of behavior have been established: What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others (Confucianism, 500 B.C.), Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss (Taoism, 4th Century B.C.), Do unto others what you would have them do unto you (Christianity, 1st Century), As you think of yourself, so think of others (Sikhism, 15th Century).

For us to flourish as buskers, we must model and exhibit such positive behaviors. We must rule our buskingdoms with grace and wisdom! We must royally abide by these so golden inspired unofficial proclamations:


I’ve been thrumming on the streets long enough to know that being an ambassador for the buskerhood means being clean and licit. Check out the local bylaws. If an official paper permit or pin is necessary to strum on the sidewalk, then get it. Permits usually cost around 10 dollars a season, and can always be obtained through city hall. Also, with permit or not, be sure to seek permission/blessing from the vendors within the closest proximity of your chose busk spot. That vendor is to be your neighbor, not your adversary. Last, steer clear of buskers that are dirty and disorderly. I am not dissing other buskers when I state that on every one of my buskingdoms, I’ve been witness to others professing to be buskers who are really cadges and dregs and drunken scoundrels. Not in any regard is there ever a need to be bracketed among them.


Keep a respectful distance from other buskers on the same street. A good rule of thrum is to have no more than two buskers on any particular block. A glut of buskers on a block is madedoine of musical misery for both pedestrians and merchants. Also be respectful of the space directly in the pedestrian flow of traffic. Be conspicuous only by tune or by costume, not by being a roadblock. One ought to be respectful of audible space, too. Avoid amplification – Always go unplugged. Both your pedestrian consumers and your friendly vendorhood will appreciate this.


No matter the size or type of donation, make sure your consumer knows that you are grateful. Most of the times, it is money, gift certificates, coupons. Sometimes it is only chit-chat and smiles. Whatever treasures your consumers offer, realize them to be gifts, and cherish each of those joyful moments accordingly.

Fellow buskers, by nature we are not members of any formal caucus. We do, however, display distinctly caucus-like chevrons with our guitars, our harpoons, our fiddles, and our banjitars. Whenever we are on a busk, we are always representative of the bigger entity, our buskerhood, and each of us is an ambassador for the goodwill and preservation of that buskerhood.

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