Sunday, October 6, 2013


I am a busker.  And even though I have given sidewalk performances with my banjitar and didgeridoo, I do believe the quintessential busker to be a Dylanesque/Donovanesque guy with dundrearies sideburns, belting lyrics of basso profondo protest while strumming an acoustic; or to be some sylphen, folken figure of a Mary Travers, with her long and golden windswept hair, trilling out dulcet marching tunes of rally.  (See picture left:  Bobby and Donovan and Mary)

Rather than conceding to the stigmatic stereotype of me being a beggar with a guitar, I consider myself as a self-employed street performer, whose doppelganger alterity chooses to thrum my twelve-string and blow my harpoon, outside the boxes of office and convention.

Remove the art of busking and any significant joy the marketplace has to offer would cease to exist.

Outdoor markets attract vendors and buskers, and busking is a mercenary vendor-like business.  The enterprise of busking is a tough one, because product and service cycles are short in season and limited in location, never mind that the busking market is capricious and fluid, unreliable and unpredictable. The art of busking is like any other venture in business.  The art of busking needs structure, needs creativity, and needs consumers.

All of us have desires, and the desire of buskers is simply to own the rewards of their individual labors, and the desire to exchange these labors for possessions. 

The desires of the consumers are no different. They, too, are highly promiscuous in their wishes and wants.  I must mention that the consumers of busking are the hoi polloi of the downtown daytime neighborhood.  The consumers of busking are NOT the mercantile panjandrums, the hoity-toity sliver who strut among us, who upon the slightest whim would abrogate the business of busking with a finger snap.

Wherever there is a busker there is a buyer’s market.  If the buyer does not like, the buyer can walk on by.  If the buyer does like, any appreciation on the spectrum of acknowledgement is appreciated.  It could be it smile; it could be a hello, it could be the toss of a coin. (Yes, a busker’s primary motive is to be paid!)

Busking can be lucrative for anyone having a little talent, a lot of luck, and a strong work ethic. Rather than being just a beggar with a guitar, being a real busker requires courage and confidence, creativity and stamina.  A real busker has to be communicative, disciplined, self-motivated, patient, and persistent. A real busker must enjoy people.

Solitary buskers, especially, are important members of the marketplace, for even solo, they can offer flavors sweet and colors bright to the downtown climes that are typically barter bitter and commercially dreary.

The strategy of busking is simple: open venue -- open pitch.  Buskers offer entertainment that is cheap in price, offer an atmosphere where there is no dress code and no advance tickets are required, and oftentimes offer backdrops for photo opportunities.

The idea of Busking challenges the commonly held perspective that music belongs on a concert stage, or on a floor in the middle of a barroom.  Busking does raise the awareness of a certain social issue, mainly that everyone needs not to work crisply in an office or under a hardhat on a rig or in a ditch.

People who support buskers do so because they recognize that the music they are listening to, is an integral part of their shower singing lives; therefore, representing the artistic instincts in most of us. 
The art of busking is an honorable pursuit because it inspires creativity and social entrepreneurship through a public self-expression, really being deeper and natural projections of our usual sublimated selves.

The art of busking preserves our history, for busking is a cultural anachronism that has been around for hundreds of years. Buscars, Spanish for seekers, were commonplace among the Gypsies (Romani), who eventually brought their art of busking into England.  In Chaucerian times (the Middle Ages), buskers were referred to as minstrels.

Nowadays the business of busking is in perfect harmony with our love affair of performance management.  A busker can thrive in the freewheeling milieu of the marketplace, as a provocateur and social entrepreneur.  Not being seditious, buskers, in business actuality, symbolize the readily accepted pay-per-performance microcosm, the essential cog in our spinning economic wheel of Capitalism.

Yes, I am a busker – Yes, I am here to live loud!

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