MUSIC / Busker's charter

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The Independent Culture
The warm weather threatens an outbreak of busking. For the safety of everyone, we recommend adherence to the following 10-point plan

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.

5. Animals

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

No thanks.

7. Drummers

See Recorder Players.

8. Locations

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.

10. Collectors

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.'