It has been a miserable winter week for busking. And so here I've sat, all the days long, seated on my hiney, writing my latest university lessons, writing my next best seller, and, of course, writing this blog.
While writing, I need to sit, though droning the didgeridoo whilst squatting on my haunches does not work (at least not for me). As a busker, I need to doo stand-up, like a trumpeter heralding the morning or afternoon or whenever time I'm out there on my busk. Dooin' stand-up was for me serendipitous. A couple of busks ago, because my butt was sore, I decided to stand up. Dooing so, I suddenly I had wings, just by raising my earthy prosterior off the pavement! At long last, I finally had the freedom and licence to evangelically blow and show off my red Meinl synthetic didgeridoo. In that moment, I went from vagary beggary to trumpery trumpetry, and just by standing up for myself!
Dooin' stand-up is like doin' stand-up comedy. And here are ten to doo tips that will raise you from being a two-bit performancer up to an uber dooer.
- Hurray to the sailor from Halifax who asked what I was playing. A didgeridoo, I replied.
Tip #1. A didge busker, as does a stand-up, needs about five minutes of original material. Once you've mastered the drone, it's a matter of practicing stating all the vowels, AEIOU, over and over again until they're discernible. Or, you could even start singing into the didge, while you drone, of course. Whatever you do, doo for at least five minutes.
Tip #2. A new comedian needs to find a comedy club that offers an open mike. A didge busker needs a buskspot. Though I'm a stranger on the didge, I'm a stager on the busk. My five buskspots are tried and true, and I visit each on a regular shift/pattern.
Tip #3. Comedians need to rehearse. Didge players, too, need to rehearse. Fortunately for busking didge players, they get paid to practice. Just like I got paid to practice my guitar, my banjitar, and now my didge.
Tip #4. Make sure your audience members can hear what you want them to hear. Dooin' stand-up, you can rotate 360 degrees while you're root-a-tooting. Dooin' such a rotation will include everyone within your droning range.
Tip #5. Stick to an allotted time. After 90 minutes, the merchants from whom you've received permission to busk, will be tired of, not you, but your tunes (if you can call didge drones tunes).
Tip #6. Keep a schedule of your gigs. As expressed in tip #2, I frequent all five of my buskspots on a regular weekly basis. Tuesdays I'm at Shoppers. Wednesdays I'm at Extra Foods. Fridays I'm at Safeway. Saturdays and Sundays I'm at Value Village. Any other days I could be anywhere.
Tip #7. Comedians continue to re-write anything they think could be made funnier. Didge players ought to change beat tempos and rhythm patterns, add auxiliary percussions, stridulations, and continue to ululate from gig to gig (buskspot to buskspot).
Tip #8. Stand-up comedians always must make nice with the audience, and so must didge buskers. Whenever someone tosses you money, nod a thank-you.
Tip #9. Be prepared for hecklers. Stand-up comedians have pithy and quick response lines and are ever prepared the cat calls. Buskers, you too, get ready. Though they appear infrequently, when they arrive, hecklers are a pain in the butt (more so than when I was dooin' while squatted on my haunches). When someone gives a heckler, turn your butt cheek and toot the other way.
Tip #10. Stand-up comedians learn to just be themselves. Dooin' buskers, just be yourself. If you're a clown (a real clown, not just one who is dressed as a clown), or a cowboy (a real cowboy as I am with my guitar or banjitar, not just one who is dressed as a cowboy), or a seriocomic, remember ... Just. Be. Yourself.
And being myself, yesterday as I was walking to the bank, droning my doo, I met the marcher in my Chaucerian Parade for this week (e'en though I never did busk)!
Usually only when I busk, I replied, but now I'm just practicing.
Well then here's some money! he said while attempting to hand me a fin.
Thanks, but no thanks, really. I'm just practicing.
Hear ye, hear ye! It pays to doo stand-up!