Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Busking - a Steve Rant

For audio click here 
“Hey, did you see that busker on the corner?” Johnny said as he put two full pints on the table.  “He was doing the Proclaimers when I went past. He was pretty good.”
“Aye, he wasn’t bad,” Steve said.     
“Oh, come on Steve, his voice was great.”
“I’m just sick of buskers,” Steve sat up in his chair, Johnny recognised the rant pose. Where was he going with this?  “It’s just there are so many of them these days. Every ten steps there is someone with a guitar or a saxophone competing for my earspace.”
“It’s better than outright begging,” Johnny said.
“And when did it become okay,” Steve took a mouthful of beer, “for buskers to use backing tracks?”
“What do you mean?” Johnny asked.
“You’ve seen them, they’re all over the place. People playing their instruments while a shitty tinny Karaoke version of Baker Street or Paradise City is being pumped out of shitty tinny amps. There should be a law against it.”  
Johnny sat back and took a swig of his beer.
“I don’t mind buskers showing off and doing their thing. As you said, that kid outside McDonald’s has a great voice. But surely using a backing track is cheating. How do we know it is actually them playing? How do we know they are not miming like the bands were on Top of the Pops in the Eighties?  The whole point of busking is to showcase your talent. You should be judged on that and not on how good your fake backing band is. They are being dishonest.”
“It’s hardly dishonest Steve,” Johnny said, “and anyway you don’t have to listen to them. Just walk on by.”
“But I do, I do have to listen to them.”
And I have to listen to you, thought Johnny.
“I have to listen to them because their amps are casting their music to all four corners of the city. It’s noise pollution.  And I’m not sure it adds anything to it. Wouldn’t it just be better to enjoy the sound of the instrument? Anyway, they are not getting any of my coins.
“You don’t give money anyway,” Johnny smiled.  
“That’s not the point. It’s the principle of the thing. If they are wanting coins off people, they shouldn’t hide behind a backing track. Busking should be unplugged.”
“Sometimes,” Johnny said. “I wish I could unplug you.”

“Oh, charming that is,” Steve replied, and got up to go to the loo.

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