MUSIC / Busker's charter
Thursday 18 March 1993
1. Repertoire musts
'Stairway to Heaven' (the original Led Zeppelin version); Gorecki's Symphony No 3; anything by Ice Cube; opera.
2. Repertoire must nots
'Stairway to Heaven' (the Rolf Harris version); Whitney Houston's 'I Will Always Love You'; the theme from Z Cars (attracts police).
3. The look
This spring buskers are wearing grunge - just as they were last spring and, in fact, every spring since busking began. Flouting this dress code (by wearing evening dress, say, or football kit, or discarded Buzby costumes) is naff and can suggest corporate backing, jeopardizing revenues.
4. Backing tapes
The use of pre-prepared tapes is disappointingly prevalent. That promising sound turns out, on closer inspection, to be a recording of Miles Davis, to which a patently inept busker is adding triangle. Thus busking drifts inexorably towards the status of karaoke, a tendency that can only be stemmed by the determined efforts of real musicians, singing 'Streets of London' on real acoustic guitars. Second thoughts, let's have more backing tapes.
Pet sidekicks have made attractive sympathy-grabbers ever since the monkey on the barrel organ. However, musical participation by these animals is out of order and they should not be roused to it. Let sleeping dogs lie.
6. Recorder players
See Recorder Players.
The practice of busking on trains or anywhere with a trapped audience should be terminated immediately. Busking is entertainment people pay good money to be able to walk away from.
9. Where the money goes
Something the size of a violin case should be adequate to all occasions, bar the unlikely event of your being heavily tipped by a slot-machine arcade manager on his way to the bank to cash up. A cello casket implies an unseemly estimate of your own musical worth. As do a credit card brace and cash register.
Do not employ someone to collect the money. This is to duck the busker's true art - managing to thank tippers mid-performance: 'And she's buy-yi-ying - thangyew - a sta-air-irway - thangyew - to he- - thangyew - -vurrrn.'
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 A daily walk 'can add seven years to your life'
- 2 Rules on 5p plastic bags likely to lead to arguments at the check-out
- 3 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
- 4 News agency criticised for describing Amal Clooney as 'actor's wife' in coverage of human rights trial
- 5 If men are so obsessed by their genitals, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities of sex?
X Factor hopeful Mason Noise: 'How is Cheryl Fernandez-Versini in the music business, let alone a judge on the show?'
Trevor Noah, Edinburgh Fringe review: New Daily Show host warms up in inspired style
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Online toy marathon to launch new film
X Factor 2015: Ratings drop almost 2 million compared to last year's launch show
Lady Chatterley’s Lover: Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn