However, I must admit there are days I would just love to roll out of bed and present my scruffy unkempt self for the entire world to see. There are days I would just love to snarl back at those passers-by who snarl at me. There are days I would just love to state, uncensored and exactly, what is on my mind. There are days I would love to present my Shadow.
The Shadow, according to Carl Jung, is the unknown dark side of our personality. The theory of the Shadow is a metaphorical means of conveying a prominent role played by our unconscious. Too bad (sometimes) that expressing the dark side of our personality while busking is not a way to make coin, nor is it ever a positive way to serve ourselves (and others), as we suffer through our existence.
Especially whilst on a busk, we really need to be on the bright side of our personality. For example, busking in my cowboy persona conveys a prominent and positive role because of my conscious design; meanwhile back at the ranch, my unconscious darker shadow is kept out of sight and mind in the corral.
Do you sometimes feel you are just running in place and not moving forward? Run down and exhausted? Frustrated from your regular sidewalk routine? Do you sometimes decide that this whole romantic notion of being a busker is really meaningless, save for the money? Me too! And so to combat such negativity, I’ve decided to ride the high trail by creating a busker manifesto.
No, I’m not thinking of sorts like The Communist Manifesto (by Karl Marx), or the Bible and the Ten Commandments (by God). I am thinking, simply, of a public declaration of busking policy, intention, opinion, and motive. My manifesto shall consist of only three foci: Focus on Delivery, Focus on Quality, and Focus on the Sunny Side.
Focus on Delivery:
Busking, really, is all about artifice. Present the busker you want to be. If you want to be a folk singer, deliberately mess your hair, keep some whiskers. Rather than button down, hang loose. Wear white T’s and faded jeans. Me and Bobby McGee and other dulcet tunes will fare better than the dreary Eve of Destruction types.
Focus on Quality:
Practice, practice, practice makes perfect. Present only your perfect songs. Fewer quality songs will embigger your performance, compared to no matter how many songs in progress. People recognize quality (Robert Pirsig). Playing just a few songs that are well rehearsed, of which the tempos can be changed at random, of which you can look about and appreciate your consumers while thrumming, is far better and much cleaner than galumphing through a clunky and cluttered display of several songs clipped to a musical stand.
Focus on the Sunny Side:
When busking, we are, in a real sense, brigands of the buskerhood. No, we’re not highwaymen; we are simply sidewalk minstrels, street light people, representing all those following our songsteps. Generally, if we present happiness, our consumers will respond in kind. Nobody likes grumpiness. Grumpy people give nothing.
If I’ve the discipline to follow my three-foci qualitative manifesto, I know that my buskapades shall be quantitatively enhanced (clink, clinkety clink).
And now for my Chaucerian Parade of characters for this past week:
The ladies who work at Shoppers. I love you. I’ve established my presence to the point that I just have to tap on the window glass, to grab your attention and approving nods for me to busk. And you brighten my day with your comments and chuckles when you visit me on your smoke breaks!
Mick. Noticing my sign in support of the Schizpophrenia Society, Mick told me his brother had schizophrenia and committed suicide at 23 years of age. Mick donated five dollars to the cause.
Anita and Jackie of the Schizophrenia Society of Saskatchewan, and Peter, their chief cook and bottle washer. You’ve accomplished yet another fun and money successful (annual) Scavenger Hunt, of which I was honored to be the parking lot banjitar player. You really do make a difference.
Mister middle-aged cowpoke. He just grinned and tossed a ten dollar bill into my guitar case! This was within a minute of my setting up – proof that my cowboy creds are convincing!
The silver-haired lady with the silver glasses who told me one of her childhood memories. This is her story: I remember singing when I was little. I would sit along near the top of the staircase in the evenings, while my mom served the men who were downstairs at the supper table – they had finished threshing for the day. (I was much too shy to go down and join them.) ‘Get that girl to sing,’ one of the men would always say, and then I would sing a song or two from the stairs. After my songs and when the men were gone, there would always be a coin at every plate. After she told me this story, the silver lady tossed a couple toonies into my guitar case.
My new best friend, Tyler. Tyler gave me a brand new MHT 3X BEAVER BLEND COWBOY HAT! This hat certainly confirms my aforementioned cowboy credentials, and helps me suppress my Shadow self.
When your busking routine has become perfunctory, this is the time for growth, time for development. Rather than let the daily grind of busking get you down, attempt to keep each busk joyful, a personal commitment to maintaining performance growth. Doing so, will add energy and flow to your busking day – to your life, in fact. And remember that presenting your unconscious dark-sided self is always easier than presenting your positive conscious self. Hard work beats talent not working hard – every time.
Back to the hat – my new MHT 3XS BEAVER BLEND. My cowboy persona is now positively complete, and my notion to don such a studly Stetson is, do I daresay -- JUSTIFIED.