Shopping & Busking
Posted by Oli on Sunday 4th October, 2009
Those of you who follow my Twitter feed will know that this week I made the fatal shopping error of trying on the coat before you check the price tag. I therefore ended up in a large debate with myself about whether I could really stretch beyond my original price. Luckily for the shop in question’s sales, they had a 15% student discount that handily made my decision for me. So I now own this coat:
But the main point of this blog isn’t to show up my frivolous tendencies, but rather to draw a distinction between musicians and buskers, if there is one.
Coming out of the 4th store of my magical mystery tour of the men’s outfitters of Liverpool town centre, I came across an interesting fellow at the side of the street. At first glance he was your ordinary busker, standing in front of a recession-closed store, guitar slung over his shoulder with the case open in front of him in the usual “not begging: entertaining” kind of way.
I should say at this point that I love the buskers in Liverpool. They’re all brilliant and they really liven up the town and help to give it its vibrant feel as you stroll down Bold Street to an assortment of musical melodies that never seem to intrude on each other.
This guy, though, was something else. As I looked again at him as he chatted to a friend before starting up his set, I noticed he had his acoustic guitar plugged into an amp. I don’t know what you call those kinds of guitars – not really acoustic, since their amplified, but not really electric because they still sound like they did before – but he had one of them. Seeing a guitarist with an amp isn’t unusual, either, in fact it’s more frequent that I’d have thought before I came up here.
Then I noticed that in front of him stood a microphone stand with, appropriately, a microphone in it. As I walked past and got a better angle on his set-up I realised he not only had all of the above, but also a large car-type battery plugged up to the amp and a mini-mixer for his two inputs. He even had a wheeled-trolley to carry it all on.
Now, I don’t want to put the guy down at all, but with the best will in the world, that’s not busking, is it? That’s gigging without a fee.
Busking is all well and good but when you stop just short of bringing your own staging on to the street to perform then, for me, that’s kind of going against the grain. Don’t you think?