Tuesday 6 October 2009

What's happening October 2009

...maybe one person who reads this may have seen me - I was busking at the Murray Street Mall, Perth Western Australia, Murray Street train station end, between about 12:15 and 13:00 WST 6 October 2009.  An interesting and positive experience.  A few quick notes, in no particular order:

  • A kind little old lady smiled and dropped a $2 coin in as she passed by, midway through my first song.  Thank you - for the first coin I ever got from busking!;

  • Lugging around a guitar and a heavy battery powered amp is not much fun, not to mention you feel a bit wierd doing so;

  • Had the jitters for a while, playing was mediocre but solid enough, no terminal song stops but more dropped notes and even a few dropped phrases than I'd normally do;

  • Was unable to get a sound I was happy with - the concrete pavers caused boominess in the bass and a weak treble.  It sounded _okay_ from where I was sitting, but a colleague of mine who stopped by told me the treble dropped quickly as you moved away, which is no good, the melody is in the treble.  This time I was more concerned with the "public performance" side of things, next time I'll try to improve the sound;

  • The overall noise level in Murray Street Mall is higher than I expected.  I was pushing the boundaries of what I can achieve with the amp before getting feedback, volume wise.  There is plenty of oomphf left in the amp, the trick is to get it without feedback. Overall I think the volume was adequate so I'm not concerned, besides I have a feedback buster I can fit, I just don't really like using it;

  • One guy recognised me from youtube and had a quick chat - g'day mate, thanks for letting me know (he loves my "Wish You Were Here", he just missed me playing it);

  • Couple of guys hung around on the sidelines listening in for several songs; I'm used to that now, whenever I play in public I get that.  I figure they are all guitarists interested in how I play, they don't want to get too close, but they want to know what's going on.  If you are one of those sorts of guys - tell me what the story is!;

  • A mummy and a little girl "go on, pop the money into the hat" - very sweet; my kids are all yawn ho-hum about guitar playing they see it all the time, but some kids would have never seen someone playing a guitar close up, so that's great!;

  • After about 45 mins of playing the sun was on my head and I was only supposed to play for 30 mins before moving on (shhh) so I packed up; I wanted to play about another 5 or 6 songs, next time.  Grand total was $19.55.  Nearly paid for my busking pass in one hit ($23/month).

I'll do it again maybe later this week or next week, but long term I don't think it is for me - I'm fairly sure I'm a cafe/restaurant player.  I've got until 1st November on my busking pass, I'll get a few more in yet!



  1. Hi Jaw, are you going through a mid life crisis or what? :-D
    Only joking, I think it's amazing. Seriously, I think there's a stigma attached to busking, that of someone ... But what really matters is you how feel about doing it, your attitude towards it. In your case, you know where you are, you know what you are doing it for, I mean you've got your job, your family, (your house ?), and true in the $20 you got there may be 1 or 2 given out of pity (may be too strong a word, but you see what I mean), you can't help that I guess in this kind of situation, but I'm sure it's a minority.
    For sure it takes courage to do it.
    I just think it's a shame when people have no choice and have to rely on it, but that's the way it is (and to an extend one always has a choice, so yes I guess I changed my mind a bit about it).

  2. Ha, perhaps this is my version of a midlife crisis!

    Yeah, I don't think busking is for me but it is a good experiment - I hope to get out of it this month a greater confidence/courage in playing in a crowd, and be able to get out the sound I want people to be hearing. Being able to play well - that will come with time ;)

    I appreciate the busking scene, I walk through the areas in my city where the buskers gather to see what's on offer, and I always throw small change. I like to think that busking is something people do for the experience and practise, not for the money, but I'm sure there are people who are in fact doing it for the money. But if you are a student and your time is free, why wouldn't you - beats flipping burgers at the burger shop doesn't it?

    I am living very comfortably; my family wants for nothing - in fact busking costs me money, it is lost income from my day job. But it was never about the money in that area I am already blessed, it was about the experience.

    I don't know why I need to perform in public - I've had guitar in my blood for so long it is all just instinct - and I've been playing at a fairly competent level for so long the challenge stopped being about the playing and more about what I can do with it; i.e., the entertainment.

    ...what were we talking about again? I think we just like to wax lyrical ;)

  3. It's funny but reading about the busking scene in your city, it reminds me of London, well I think there really could be more of it in London for such a big and busy city, but there's at least one square (Covent Garden) that is the busker paradise (although I reckon they must be fighting for the spots). I used to enjoy going there just to hear and see them play, but...that was before Youtube! You have to admit that as somebody who plays the guitar, and interested in technique, but playing mostly for yourself, you didn't get so much opportunities to see live guitarists, and chat with them if you wish to. Then I discovered Youtube, and only now I realise how in recent years it has affected my standard and expectations (as a listener I mean). Of course Naudo has something to do with it, but even watching videos of common guitarists just got me 'blasé'.
    In fact since Naudo was removed from Youtube, I've almost stopped altogether watching guitarists on Youtube, so I even got bored from Youtube guitarists, Naudo was the only one I could always find fascinating.
    Free roaming again...well that's enough writing for now, take care!