Saturday, April 6, 2013


Minus six degrees and blowing snow -- this is not a day to be a buscar.

The Spanish word, buscar, means to seek -- The busker who is worthy, no matter how weathered, no matter how weary, is forever seeking … forever seeking something.

The art of busking is real; the art of busking is romantic.  The art of busking is being followed by a moon shadow while at the same time chasing the sun light.  The art of busking is a lot of yin and a little of yang.

Being weathered connotes experienced and aged.  A seasoned busker (pun intended) has set pitches in weather, whether clement or not.  I’ve been rained on every spring.  I’m blowing in the wind every summer.  It is chilly in autumn.  Wintertime is closet time.

Even when weary the show must go on.  It is always easier not to (do anything), never mind go busking.  Some days I grow weary of the same ol’ same ol’ pitches.  Some days I grow weary of the same ol’ same ol’ consumer conversations.  Some days I grow weary of the same ol’ same ol’ guitar riffs and harpoon blues.  Yes,  some days I grow weary.

Being worthy means keeping the work ethic no matter the weather, no matter the weary.  There is personal honor in rolling up the mat and moving up the block every couple hours.  There is honor in being recognized on particular street corners, in front of particular coffee bars, performing centre stage in shopping mall parking lots.

As a busker, what is it that I seek?  Being weathered and weary and worthy, I have come to reckon the real and the romance of busking.  I do know that busking is paradigmatically will-o’-the-wisp.  Busking is a foolish fire that can only be extinguished by doing.

I shall provide both adventurous and pragmatic examples.

When I think of going on a busk, I think of windless sunny days.  I imagine that I shall be frailing my banjitar, or plucking my twelve-string while blowing my harpoon, or droning my didgeridoo to the delight of consumers applauding every song.

I must be delusional, for this is never the scenario.  I’ve had sunny days I thought would never end; I have busked when the world was windless; I’ve heard one hand clapping.  All of these I've had, but not on any regular basis.

When I think of busking I think of freedom.  Doing bar and coffee gigs in winter one is constantly attempting audience engagement.  Sidewalk busking means an instant concrete connection between busker and consumer (pun intended).   When I think of busking I think of low, if any, expectations.  Doing bar and coffee gigs in winter the expectations are high because cover charges range up to ten dollars a head.

I must be delusional, for when I think of busking I imagine a colubrine of consumers eager to view an free-spirited musician, an unfettered hero living the dream.  In reality, non-consumers consider buskers to be the bottom feeders of the musical food chain, unnecessary beggars with instruments.

Only having been weathered and weary do I realize that busking is a yang way to live my passion.  When I busk I am free, choosing my own hours, self-employed and accountable to nobody.  The yin of this, of course, is that I do bow for the almighty dollar and the musical magic, sometimes, is lost.

I do, though, consider myself worthy because I have self-imposed heuristics (these could be considered ethics, I suppose, even though I do not rely on any association to dictate my behaviors).  I leave the liquor store busking opportunities for those in more need than I.  I never play to captive audiences, i.e., those sipping and chatting at sidewalk cafes, i.e.,  those standing in movie lines or at bus stops.  I attempt always to provide a confection of entertainment; I have a personal dress code; I am hebdomadal, showing up every Saturday and Sunday noon at Value Village; I attempt to be positively personal.


The solitary character marching in my Chaucerian Parade this week provided me with a factoid on my Blues Harp.  This Adonic six foot three muscular thirty-year old guy had just bought a Blues Band harmonica.  He said that he read on the package that Frank James, brother of Jesse James, played the harmonica. My family's affinity with Frank and Jesse James goes back a long ways – see my blog profile for details.

 I am a BUSCAR seeking neither fame nor fortune … 
I seek only perfect pitches, windless and sunny days.



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