Thursday, June 05, 2008

Let me take you by the hand and lead you through...

There is always a busker in the tube station I use when I go home from work. Occasionally they are terrible, occasionally they are excellent (in which case, I may even give them some money) but usually they are just ok. Inoffensive and forgettable.

However, I've noticed over the last few weeks, that on a Thursday it is the same man. The reason I've noticed him in particular is not that he is terrible or excellent. He pretty much falls into the average category. I noticed him because he played the song "The Streets of London". The first time I heard it, I thought "that's a good song for a London busker to play" but then today, on about the fourth time of seeing him play, I've given it some more thought.

Either, it is a huge coincidence that I happen to walk past every week when he's playing that song from his repetoire (I do leave work at roughly the same time every day, but still it seems unlikely). Or that is all he plays.

I don't know how long he is positioned there, but even if it is just one hour, that means playing that song about 12 times.

Either he only knows one song (in which case becoming a busker is particularly a poor career choice). Or he is the most cynical busker ever as this is obviously a winner with passers-by.

Surely though just for variety he could play another London-themed song? "London's Burning" might not be a good choice, but there must be others?


Miss Forthright said...

I've wondered that about buskers before, because they're never great musicians so I do suspect they don't know how to play many songs.

Claire said...

I guess he could alternate it with London Calling, or some Jam songs like Going Underground or Down in the Tube Station at Midnight. Even if he was a crap musician/singer, it might be appreciated by people who like songs in themes (I do, though I suppose it's rather an idle past-time....).

Mellifluous Dark said...

Oh, I love this post. Buskers, eh? They are brilliant. Even if they are crap, they are great.

I could start eulogising about London here (you know what I'm like) but I won't.

I think it's fabulous that you happened upon this man and his rather good song choice. Maybe he could try Nike Drake's 'Chime of a City Clock', which used to come on on my iPod (which was programmed to 'random') every time I crossed the river on the way to/from work. The lyric with the word 'London' in it used to send a shiver down my spine.

SandDancer said...

I'm quite partial to themed songs myself (I have a rain playlist on my ipod for when it rains) but obviously he isn't banking on people like me passing him weekly. A bit of variety would be appreciated. Perhaps I should suggest London Calling to him next time I see him.

MD - yes, even rubbish buskers are great as they add a bit character to the place. I quite enjoy your London eulogises as it makes a change from the usual moans about the place.

Saw Lady said...

Greetings from a NYC busker!

I enjoyed reading your post, because I am interested in how things are at different subway systems around the world.

About the busker you saw... some buskers play the same song over and over, because they don't expect anybody to stick around to hear more than one song, and they find that particular song makes them the most money... Personnaly I could not do that - I would get bored. But I know people who do that. It's not that they don't know any other songs - it's a choice they make.

All the best,

Saw Lady

SandDancer said...

Saw Lady - hello from London. I've actually seen you play when I was in New York last and you were amazing. I believe you are something a NYC legend, so feel honoured that you've made a comment here.