|BEING A BUSKER MEANS NOT BEING IN THE METAPHORICAL PARADE|
I, alone, am responsible for creating a meaningful life (SOREN KIERKEGAARD, Danish existentialist). I am a temporal being, born into an already existing world. To make sense of my world I indulge in my pastimes (MARTIN HEIDEGGER, German phenomenologist and existentialist). One of my pastimes, not by chance, is busking.
My life is existential, as is life for everyone else. My life is really moments of minims. Whenever I am busking, my busking minims are significant. This essay is about buskers, or anyone thinking of being a busker, making the most of those busking minims. As a certified BUSKOLOGIST, I feel compelled to share my seven notions on achieving guitar busking success:
- GET SET READY GO! Once you’ve decided to be a busker you need to get your set list ready (this is not-so-dangerously assuming you can adequately strum a guitar). Personally, I like to thrum original tunes, even make them up at my buskspot. However, if you’re a beginning busker it’s not likely you’ll have the temerity or skills to do this. And so, (reluctantly) I urge you to get at least a half an hour’s worth of cover tunes ready for public playing. Play your entire set list three times, then change the scenery, move on down the block, set-up, and repeat this playing process. I've been asked to turn down the volume (I only play unplugged), and I've been kicked out of buskspots (because of not having a license). But so what ... it's both always and never a good time to move along.
- SEEK PERMISSION! If you are planning to busk anywhere near vendors, ethically you ought to get permission. Having music being played on their front entrance may seem a tad intrusive from a vendor point of view. Simply, just seek permission to do, and once permission is granted, take heed to notion #1. If you plan to busk on swards or in park areas, nobody really cares if you’ve permission or not. Your mise -en-scene choice most certainly determines whether or not you decide to seek permission or not to busk. Most vendors like buskers and wherefore most vendors will give permission for you to busk near their establishment.
THE GROUND RUNNING STRUMMING! Once
you’ve decided on your buskspot, get strumming.
Not many people will toss coins your way if you’re not playing your
guitar. Rarely do I sing but I do strum
with vigor. I strum with vigor because I
want to give notice that someone is playing a guitar, maybe draw some consumer
attention from a hundred feet away, giving my potential customers time to
consider, and time to reach for the right amount of money to toss into my guitar
case. I'm noted for my loud strumming. I rarely plug in, no matter the gig venue.
- FIRST IMPRESSIONS are important. By the time you’re within your customers’ range of vision, you need to look presentable. And the closer they get, the more winsome you must become. Being physically adorkable is okay -- exuding trumpery, rather than quality is not okay. Readers of this blog know that I prefer the white t's and faded blue jeans Bobby Dylanesque style of the early 70's, complete with a C harmonica.
- CAP-A-PIE APPEAL is a must. Busking is a visceral, rather than intellectual experience. Any appeal you present will be to the consumer’s heart rather than head. Being a vanilla looking busker is easy. Guitar buskers ought to exude certain character traits, windswept and wayfaring. Your physical presentation need not be a transmogrification, and nor should it be a Mrs. Grundy. As stated in #4, I channel early 70's Bobby Dylan, save for the hats.
- SMILE. You must appeal to the critical mass, so to speak, not just to the shiny people. Smile at everyone. After you’ve been down the busking road, you’ll realize that any passer-by, no matter what you’ve imagined about that person, is a potential consumer. Everyone likes a smile.
- BRUTTO TEMPO buskers are the real buskers. If busking for you is just a side-quest (for pocket money) or a stalking-horse (for picking up girls), then being only a sunny-time busker not a big deal. If, however, you want to thrum out a livelihood being a busker, you must be brutto tempo, even if it's drizzmal, and even if it is minus 8 degrees and blowing snow (like today). I know lots of brutto tempo buskers and ... I'm not among them.
As a busker, I can stand alone on the sidewalk in the midst of infinite possibilities and responsibilities. Really, I’ve no other purpose than the one I set for myself; no other destiny than the one I forge (JEAN-PAUL SARTRE French phenomenologist and existentialist).
WITH CERTAIN GRIT YOU, TOO, CAN BE A GUITAR BUSKER …
YOUR LIFE IS YOUR CHOICE.
Those happen-chance marchers in my CHAUCERIAN PARADE this week:
|ERIN (WHEELS): AWESOME SOUND GUY|
|CORBY MAGNUSSON OF THE HANDSOME STRANGERS|
You can see Corby on stage at the Regina BUSHWAKKER BREW PUB in Regina ... April 20th.