Monday, May 18, 2015


Let me set the record on my status as a BUSKOLOGIST.  In order to study the art of busking, I feel it necessary to become an ETHNOGRAPHER, a participant observer so to speak, specifically in relation to busking.
And in so doing, I’ve unofficially attached myself to the SCHIZOPHRENIA OF SASKATCHEWAN, my preferred choice of agency to offer not just dollars, but counseling and hope for day-to-day client cures.  

My busking began as another whim for my social entrepreneurial self, evolving rather quickly to the rank of faux busker and now to real busker.  Having preferences for clear azure skies and Zephyr sweet winds, I am not yet a brutto tempo busker, but I’m working on it. 

When I think about busking I think about adventure, that is, adventure in the sense of being a self-inflicted adversity that forces one to think bigger and beyond that of normal activity.

Adventure means having the willingness and confidence to embrace a challenge, but adventure and challenge are not necessarily synonyms.  Saying thus, methinks challenge has lost the connotation of adventure. Challenge used to mean going over Niagara Falls in a wooden barrel. (Pictured below is Annie Taylor on her 63rd birthday, as she became the first person to survive going over Niagara Falls in a wooden barrel.)  Challenge now of refers to practically everything that is new to a person, to even just changing jobs or locations.  Adventure, on the other hand, is hardly such a paid package experience.  Adventure connotes excitement, even dangerous excitement.  The outcome of an adventure is never certain; whereas, the outcome of a challenge is almost always predetermined.

Though not as Promethean or valorous as the likes of  Annie Taylor or Marco Polo or William Beebe or Edmund Percival Hillary or Yuri Gagarin  (no, I am not ever going over Niagara Falls in a wooden barrel; I am not ever setting sail on seas of total uncertainty;  I am not ever plunging deep into the ocean depths in a bathysphere; I am not ever climbing Everest; and I am not ever leaving earth and going into space), I do consider busking to be an adventure nonetheless, knowing quite very well that my life before busking was a rather middle-aged and middle-class misadventure. 


According to Matt Walker (2015), adventure has certain elements:  high endeavor, total commitment, and great companionship.  I shall examine Walker's required elements in the context of busking.

High endeavor means imagining an activity quite beyond that of any day-to-day routine.  My day-to-day routine is pretty much counseling.  By day my clients are always adolescents and in evenings they are adults.  One night each week I teach a university Psychology class, the student members mostly being emerging adults.

Busking forces me beyond the mode of counseling, onto the concrete sidewalks to strum and sing among strangers who, not by any particular design, just happen by.

The sense of total commitment that I apply to my counseling job, my private practice, and my teaching is very necessary in order to keep my contracts and clients.  My total commitment to busking is similar but not nearly as urgent.  Total commitment to busking is simply preparing the technical skills (strumming and singing), dressing the part, and actually showing up for the selected stage on the street.  Having the confidence to be there playing the part (pun intended) is all that is necessary to under-gird any successful busk. 

Great companionship is probably the biggest draw about the joy and art of busking.  Being a counselor in a high school, a few of my colleagues are great companions, but most are not.  There is a certain camaraderie amongst high school staff mainly because we are all sharing the same pedagogical ditches. Bracketing clients and students as companions is nonsensical and unethical.  Though making-a-friend is the first rule of counseling, it is hardly a literal reality.  Friends can be great counselors, but you get what you pay for.  Relating to the students in my university classes is another thought that needs to be reckoned with.  My last class of 23 students was comprised of 22 nubile females, and one non-attending male.  Hanging with these students I can imagine being erotically alluring, but in reality a lecherous and most unethical activity.

Whilst busking, on the other hand, the great companionship refers to the people that I meet moment-to-moment, a very necessary and mercenary aspect of the occupation.  On every busk I meet the malaperts and pippins, the tonies and the troglodytes; these are my consumers and I learn to love them all!  (Make no bones about this --- having no moment-to-moment companions means having no coin.) 


Marching in my CHAUCERIAN PARADE this week, for the very first time is myself.  I now
sport a shock of platinum blond hair, thanks to my colleague, Nadine and my band mate, Judy.  Ladies, thank you very much for such a hair-razing experience!

Surf's up, reader dudes ... gotta boogie and busk!

1 comment:

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