Trading talent for money on street corners.
Every morning I have to walk through the Elizabeth St tunnel at Central station to get to work. Anybody who has ever traversed that tunnel knows that every three footsteps is a busker. I don’t mind buskers, but they, in collusion with the tunnel, have began to form a complicated superstitious system about how my day is going to be. If I’m walking along and there’s the old couple playing Stairway to Heaven and then some loud guy doing a recent soul hit, I know my day is going to be pretty average. Add in the awesome accordion dude, and it’s going to be pretty kickass. But wait, what about the wild-card that is the blind soprano lady? If I’m hungover, she is a banshee. But things can be far more mutable.
Once, every single busker was singing Stairway to Heaven. I’m fairly sure that’s the apocalypse right there. But nothing can really compare you for the sheer horror that is creepy grinning Chinese man and his creepy Chinese puppet. This guy only ever appears in the early hours of the morning, when things feel dislocated enough anyway. He plays that weird twangy Chinese music on his CD player, and just bounces the puppet around with that same, fixed, maniacal grin on his face.
|This can only mean one thing:
I’m going to be murdered by the ghost of a flying bear.
And he is the only one I ever consider giving money to, as i’m so goddamn scared of him that I think maybe I should appease the angry puppet thing. But then I consider that maybe by giving money, i’m getting its attention, and then the rest of my life will be spent fleeing from its evil eye, like a Hobbit to Sauron. It’s just not worth it.
LACK OF STARS
Once I went busking. Yeah. Back when I was in ‘The Bracket Creeps’, Australia’s only Poetry Boyband, we were doing a bunch of travelling around NSW. We basically travelled to anyone who is strange enough to hire a comedy group who tells jokes via verse and wears purple suits. Our manager at the time was like “Woo, I got you a gig in Thredbo!” which is where the snow lives. This seemed like a fairly awesome place to take our absurd poetry/comedy blend, so we were all up in it. Only to discover later, that we’d been entered in the ‘2006 Thredbo Street Buskers Competition’.
|The Bracket Creeps present: Lachie.|
Our brand of performance is fairly reliant on three things: A stage, a stationary crowd and a steady supply of red wine. We thought that maybe there would be a central stage in the middle of the town, so perhaps we could get one of those points, and then the sheer awesomeness of our act would bring the next, and sure, there wouldn’t be wine, but we could buy schnapps or something.
We got none of these things. Instead, we discovered after being given a helpful little map, that we were set up in the middle of the snow, somewhere near the proximity of a chairlift. After conferring to the other street buskers – musical acts, jugglers, clowns etc, we discovered that we were probably as far away from a stage as could possibly be. In fact, icy snow fields are probably the anti-stage, and if you for some reason had those categories in paper, scissors, rock, then stages beat snow.
So I need you to picture this. Four retards shivering in their flimsy purple suits, screaming poetry into the howling arctic wind, while skiers zoomed past us, spraying us with ice chips, before hopping on to the chairlift. Every so often if they clumped together into groups, we would attempt to CHASE THEM DOWN, but our leather dress shoes would slide wildly, and we really couldn’t afford to get any wetter, because we were in the snow, and I was starting to actually think we were going to die of hypothermia. Yeah. Ever had a performance so bad that you might actually die?
The only time we got even the hint of an audience was when a group of parents decided to plunk about eight of their children in front of us. Hilarious in many aspects, we all started yelling in protest to the parents as they began to ski off. The look of bafflement on their faces was priceless. Surely, all street performers and buskers were trustworthy child minders? Who did these purple clowns think they were? They actually protested to us, and only relented when Lachie, shrugging his aubergine shoulders, stepped forward and began the first line of our ‘Syphilis quartet’.
|Watch out, Wiggles!|
We are not child friendly.
During the weekend, we almost came to blows, found out that schnapps doesn’t have a high alcohol content, and spent about seven hours throwing rocks at a frozen lake. After many similar performances, we gathered at the end to discover that we didn’t win.
And that’s why I don’t like busking.