The Lost Art of Street Busking.


There’s something special about street buskers. I don’t know what it is. Perhaps it’s the break you take from your daily routine of rushing about without a minute to spare; then sparing that minute to take a listen to the music, giving them a warm smile, perhaps throwing a few coins into their hat or guitar case or whatever it happens to be…

I never walk past a busker without stopping for at least a little bit. I stop and I wonder: what is their life about? Are they doing it for joy? To earn a living? To simply brighten up the day of the passers-by? I happened to stumble into two in town today. They differed like pen and pencil, yet both were doing the same, magical thing. The first was a man whom I judged to be in his late twenties. Neat hairstyle, casual shirt and jeans, guitar, Travis and Ed Sheeran. Strong voice, strong strumming. I figured it was likely that he might have been in a band in his younger years, for he definitely knew what he was doing! I hadn’t heard ‘Driftwood’ by Travis in months, and shamelessly knowing the majority of the lyrics, I would have joined in if there wasn’t anyone around….

The second was a greasy-haired teen – early twenties? – with the most beautiful dog I have ever laid my eyes upon. Average voice, good playing. Louis Armstrong. Making a silly face at the dog consequently brought on laughter from the busker, which interrupted the line of “and I think to myself, what a wonderful world”  and it just filled my heart with this warm knowledge that I made a stranger laugh! Who know whether this kid was doing this for fun, whether he was homeless, whether he was an addict – it really didn’t bother me. People are people.

And some people are of the unfortunate opinion that there is no room for buskers on the street. That they are, what you could call, “polluting” the streets by disguising begging as having some sort of talent. That they should go and get a proper job. But I salute the people who go out into the public and inject that little bit of magic into everybody else’s lives. They’d rather be there with their beloved instrument and earn a humble living through doing something that doesn’t involve stealing or killing or selling their body or who knows what. Never ignore a busker, you don’t know their life story. Spare a minute and throw them a genuine smile; it will make you feel like the saviour of the whole darn universe!

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