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Busking - Third Attempt

Rico Vandoren

Member
Messages
141
Last week I went on holiday to St.Davids in Pembrokeshire ( in Wales, if you're not from these Isles ). I'd promised myself I would get into busking this year, but thus far had only been out twice.

So I took my alto, and my speaker/amp and iPod and set up in nearby Haverfordwest, on the footbridge that crosses the River Cleddau.

I always start with 'Here,There, and Everywhere' by the Beatles, as its quite easy and settles the nerves. I had literally played two bars of the song when a woman came and stood in front of me, making it obvious she wanted to speak to me. I was perplexed and a bit annoyed as I assumed she wanted to complain about the noise. So I stopped the backing track and she said, " Excuse me, but do you do weddings? ". I was amazed- she wanted to book me on the evidence of two bars of playing! What a player I must be! I had to explain that I lived two hundred miles away, but was honoured that she'd asked.

Anyway, I played on, and a chap came and listened intently while I played ' Tears in Heaven '. He then said he played tenor, and would I mind if he took some photos. He's going to email them to me, but hasn't yet.

After that, a guy came up with two pound coins. He said " This one's from me, and this one's from my mate over there. We've been sitting in the beer garden enjoying the beautiful music". I was well chuffed!

Another lady came by and dropped some money in the case, and said, " Penny Lane- that's my favourite.."

Then the school bus arrived and about a hundred teenagers filed past me. I thought they would probably take the mickey, but they were really encouraging and one or two dropped some pennies in.

Unfortunately it then started to rain, so I packed up and went home. I played for about 40 minutes and got £17, but the real joy was that I felt people had actually got enjoyment from my playing.

Big thanks to the folks of Haverfordwest for making me feel like a real musician!
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,661
Fantastic story, RV don't the comments make you feel on top of the world? To me they are worth far more than the money you can earn!
I guess it's time for you to get some business cards printed up and go forth onto the streets of Merseyside!
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,069
An afternoon in the cells tends to put a dampener on busking. But it's only happened once in 30 years.

I prefer no backing track for busking. I Play solo. Less to carry and no worries about electrics getting rained on. The old alto doesn't mind a shower.

200 miles is a bit of a trek for £17. Might just break even on the diesel.

I always say you can't get lower than a busker. If you can busk that's as bad as it can get. You'll always have eating money.

I carry ear plugs and offer them to anyone who complains about the noise. Troglodytes.
 

Andrew Sanders

Northern Commissioner for Caslm
Messages
2,773
Lucky they didn't start with the close harmonies Tony. We might never have seen you again.
Well done and get out in St Helens, kick off with "I love the sound of braking glass" they love it up there.
Andy
 

What

Member
Messages
314
Awesome to hear man. I loved the street musicians that were all over the place when I was growing up, some of the best players in the world use an open instrument case instead of a recording studio. I've considered trying out a bit of street musicianship once I get good enough that my noise turns into music, but this is Pittsburgh, they aren't exactly lively or much for fun here. I could go back to New Orleans, but then I would have to fight a trumpet player for playing space.
 

zannad

Member
Messages
410
Busking can be addictive....but then more money than expected starts coming in and it can be very distractive too (money that is). At one point this summer I was taking it a bit too seriously and about to do it on a regular basis...busking is pleasurable when the weather is fine but now is getting colder (reality strikes, freezing months ahead) so I get more time to make up my mind...
Becoming a street performer is an art in itself (music is just an aspect of that); but then there is the love to learn new theories and experimenting - the luxury of making mistakes without any fear of being judged in our cosy little practice rooms (music first...then money).

Just a though - I too was impressed by the so many youngsters approaching and asking me if I knew certain songs - but some of them started nicking my coins too :shocked: Just beware if they get too close to your money bucket without dropping their coins - they are probably nicking yours.

Never mind - there are so many positives which greatly counterbalance those little nuances: it's nice being groped by some stunning half drunk party girls who then pay you for a few pictures...the art photographer who asks you if you are free the next Monday for the big opening of his gallery (you'll provide the soundtrack)...then there is the mysterious lady who slides a fiver in your pocket asking to play the Russian anthem?! I started playing the "Soviet" one (cos' I didn't know the Russian one) so she started to hum...well, for a fiver it was well worth spending a bit more time for her so I've learned the right song in the end.:mrcool
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
Well done and get out in St Helens, kick off with "I love the sound of braking glass" they love it up there.
Andy
Andrew,
Apart from the usual enquiry about the delivery date of my glass banjo, did appreciate the attempt at a Nick Lowe reference and area put down but are you supplying Brembo and Nissan directly? They need to do something following the failure of the carbon fibre equivalent on Saturday in Korea.
 

Targa

Among the pigeons
Subscriber
Messages
8,892
I prefer no backing track for busking. I Play solo. Less to carry and no worries about electrics getting rained on. The old alto doesn't mind a shower.
That's the way busking should be done.
I find it extremely annoying when 'buskers' can be heard in the next street, you can't hold a conversation within 50 feet of them and they 'claim' half the pavement with their equipment.
 

AndyWhiteford

Senior Member
Messages
454
In Glasgow we get bunches of guys with full PA, racks of batteries, mics & CDs for sale, and cheesey MIDI playalongs by the dozen...
luckily, I love the authentic sound of ABBA played on plastic panpipes by Peruvians from Ruritania :confused:
I remember last time I went busking solo sax, earning £20++ an hour cash, biggest hassle was lumping round the bags of coins afterwards, and that was 20 years ago. I would do it again, if I had to, this time WITH backing tracks, amp & 12v motorcycle battery, all on a wheeled carrier trolley. Although i do respect the solo, unaccompanied way, & often drop coins in boxes of any half-decent instrumentalists. here, too, the Conservatoire (formerly RSAMD) encourage students to form busking quartets, and they're always at a high standard.
 

visionari1

Senior Member
Messages
1,581
Great story RV, loved it!
Busking is so unpredictable, from day to day and spot to spot, town to town!
The unusual usually happens... I've busked in Ayr and Edinburgh... which was quite a memory, a cold friday night on the Royal Mile, giving it full bore, a drunk woman (this was about 9pm) came up to me and said I hate saxophones, she returned a minute later wanting to play my sax and lunged at me, I turned my back, so she jumped on and hung on while I spun around and around till her handbag spilled all its contents all over the Royal mile...including her passport....so she got off to pick it all up... I then ran around the mile being chased by this mad woman, while tourists took photo's.
I thought if a single woman does this to me at 9pm at night what could a bunch of blokes do at 11pm....so I called it a night and caught the bus back to the Park and Ride!
Busking is crazy, bizarre, and has the ability to make people happy, which is it's main attraction to me!
Your experience shows how people don't really listen that closely and enjoy the "aliveness" of it!
There's also a bit of the Rebel in their too!

Well done!
 

visionari1

Senior Member
Messages
1,581
That's the way busking should be done.
I find it extremely annoying when 'buskers' can be heard in the next street, you can't hold a conversation within 50 feet of them and they 'claim' half the pavement with their equipment.
Ahem....even solo sax can be heard in the next street...... I sometime follow people down the street who are having conversation (usually on the phone). Just for fun....another point is people often come back past you again and perhaps add to your hat!
 

MellowD

Lost In Theory
Messages
544
In Glasgow we get bunches of guys with full PA, racks of batteries, mics & CDs for sale, and cheesey MIDI playalongs by the dozen...
Personally I admire anyone who has the guts to play in Sauchiehall Street and live to tell the tale! Surely you have to be reasonably good to survive that one.

Although last time I was there, I was too busy glancing at the shop windows instead of looking where I was walking. Strode straight into the chest of a big chap and immediately though "OOOOh now I've done it!!" - it was Rolf Harris!!! He was very nice about it too, bless him.


luckily, I love the authentic sound of ABBA played on plastic panpipes by Peruvians from Ruritania :confused:
We get that crowd in Lincoln regular during November and December looking to sell up their CD's for Christmas. The number of places we've come across them as we've gone around the country ......... think they're stalking me!!
 

tengu01

Member
Messages
725
Thanks for posting that RV, it was a lovely story to hear, especially as it shows that the music is just one part of the busking experience. There are good and bad bits to it, but I think there's nothing nicer than coming down the street and hearing wisps of music from somewhere nearby and following it to a busker. Viva live music :)
 
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