Vern's Verbal Vibe

Singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist and purveyor of folk 'n' roll: spirit-filled sad songs made better.

June 29, 2014

World's Most Introverted Busker Retires

Yes, sad but true, and after only two attempts. Why? Well, I've discovered that busking requires a skill set above and beyond the ability to sing and play. Read on.

A couple of weeks ago on a sunny Tuesday afternoon, I set up shop at the corner of two streets which shall remain nameless. About six songs into my set, this guy runs up and starts screaming in my face. Apparently I've taken what he considers his prime panhandling spot, and if he ever sees me here again he's going to beat me senseless. As he continues the expletive-filled rant, I keep playing but I'm terrified. My eyes follow as he stomps away until I can no longer see him. Shaken, I struggle through a few more songs, then pack up and speed off on my bike.

So: the skill set I'm referring to involves (a) asserting one's territorial rights on the street and (b) deescalating potentially dangerous situations with beggars and panhandlers. Since I can't do either and have no interest in learning, that concludes my busking career. How I biked home that day and didn't up in Toronto East General with 15 broken ribs, I've no idea. This guy was angry enough to inflict major damage.

On the bright side, I don't think busking is for me anyway. Even before the incident occurred, I was more enduring it than enjoying it. I will leave busking for the extroverts, the thick-skinned, those who can confidently assert their territorial rights and deal with raging crazies and God knows what else. I'm not risking my life for $3.10 (that day's windfall). Instead, I'll seek out more genteel venues for my music.

Unfortunately, this also puts the kibosh on the Buskman's Holiday. I have no reason to believe that the raging crazies of Guelph, London, Kingston or what have you substantially differ from this guy and don't intend to find out.

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Blogger Residents Of Ward 12 said...

Hey Vern, I hear ya - it's something I did once and hated it. Played Replacements songs while someone heckled me...Discovered I can get that abuse anywhere, don't need to invite it. I didn't think it would be for you but sometimes you never know if you're gonna like something or not until you try it

2:20 pm  

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