Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Celebrity Buskers

performing on a street corner near you
  [vote for,

Some weekends I'm struck by the absolute dross which lines our shopping streets and demands cash for defiling our ears with shocking attempts at entertainment of the musical, comedic, childish or geewhizzical.

Other times I wish I had longer to spend standing and listening, was more warmly dressed, had a folding chair on which to sit, or didn't feel guilty about listening to a full half hour for only a gift of a couple of quid. This weekend a rather good St Petersburg Conservatoire brass quintet played Arrival of the Queen of Sheba outside Habitat in Glasgow, for example, while down the road the ubiquitous Peruvian panpipe group regaled us with 'My Way'. I bought the Russians' CD; my dad tells a story about buying the Peruvians' tape once, got it home and it was blank. He learned.

Clearly there's a lot of crap out there. I don't wish to rain on the proverbial parade of those less talented, but I do wish that especially in this festive season when there are many frayed tempers already lining the streets, that the average standard of street performance could be raised by the charitable appearances of more widely appreciated artists... Lesley Garrett in the pit cafe place in Covent Garden, Beautiful South outside Marks and Spencer on Union Street in Aberdeen, Mark Knopfler alongside the Farmers' Market in Alnwick...

Perhaps semi-incognito appearances would be best - unannounced, and for a couple of hours only. Distinctly not a game for certain pop and pop classical stars - leave your self-importance at home. All proceeds to charity. Test out your new material here.

Was also thinking about celeb Santa in department stores, but remembered the index of unsuitability with children. Best to keep the celebs out in the open where everyone can see what they're up to.
lewisgirl, Dec 17 2001

babes http://www.mediaevalbaebes.com/index2.htm
singing [lewisgirl, Dec 17 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Jam-session band mentioned above. http://www.fudjit.nomutantenemy.co.uk/
[angel, Feb 13 2002, last modified Nov 15 2005]

Badly Drawn Boy's attempt http://news.bbc.co....ainment/2796723.stm
GBP1.60 doesn't seem much, I quite liked the soundtrack to About a Boy [Gordon Comstock, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]


       My local pub has a resident jam-session band. If anyone in the audience wants to join in a particular song, they can (within reason). Last week Mike Lee (drummer in a famous band - no names, but it sounds like 'Ded Zeppelin') was in the pub. He sat in on three songs (including 'Rock and Roll', a LZ classic). Unfortunately he'd been drinking all day and was so lashed he could hardly stand and certainly couldn't drum. To that extent, baked-ish, but not very.
angel, Dec 17 2001

       Flavor Flav col' lampin' outside the Metro Centre, Kraftwerk standing stock still on Princes Street, Edinburgh, Limp Bizkit in a cave miles from any shops or people...
calum, Dec 17 2001

       Can I have some celebrity carol singers, rather than the various groups of mid-pubescent boys who can't sing in tune (let alone harmonise), and only appear to know the words to the first verse of "We Wish You A Merry Christmas"?   

       I don't have any particular celebrities in mind, though take into consideration that Charlotte Church is unlikely to leave my porch unscathed.
-alx, Dec 17 2001

       perhaps 'Mediæval Bæbes' could do your harmonised carol-singing, if you like that sort of thing? S Club 7? (chuckle chuckle) I was in a chamber choir when I was at school, we went and sang on Boots corner opposite City Square in Dundee. Made 50 quid one day. I think we gave it to the Salvation Army, which was a very bad idea, since I have now developed a strange revulsive fear of brass bands playing carols, especially indoors in shopping centres.
lewisgirl, Dec 17 2001

       Belle and Sebastian in a freezing underpass in Dalston. So Solid Crew outside the Ploughman in the Cotswolds. Mark Knopfler anywhere would only be fine if he was playing the spoons and not the guitar. Daft Punk in Kew Gardens in robot masks. Various members of the Pogues do this all the time but I suppose they're hardly celebs.
notripe, Dec 17 2001

       Well, I wouldn't say no to the Mediæval Bæbes on my doorstep. The S Club would be a bit dodgier, though they'd at least be able to put on a good dance routine.
-alx, Dec 17 2001

       In Greil Marcus's book In The Fascist Bathroom, there's a bit about legendary punk band The Clash in 1985 or so (long after Mick Jones had left) busking in a car park outside a gig by Welsh rockers The Alarm. It sounds implausible, but also the sort of thing Clash singer Joe Strummer would do.   

       (lg: if you see the beautiful south outside M&S Aberdeen, could you punch the guy in the face from me?)
pottedstu, Dec 17 2001

       Croissant. Btw, I've read that buskers in the Paris Metro system must pass an audition with a certain level of competence.
beauxeault, Dec 17 2001

       would it be easier for me to move to Paris than to convince celebs to perform without a hoohah on street corners for charity?
lewisgirl, Dec 17 2001

       Having been a Parisian for two years I can't believe that all the buskers have passed a test. Some of the buskers on the undergound interchanges are undeniably excellent but the quality of those buskers who work their way down carriages, stop by stop, was very poor indeed.   

       However there was a peculiar form of busking that I have only seen on the Paris Metro. This is when a beggar enters a carriage, formerly introduces him/herself and then proceed to tell a saga of misfortune. The beggar then thanks the carriage and walks down the aisle collecting whatever donations they are given.
Aristotle, Dec 17 2001

       I saw The Frames play on Grafton Street in Dublin, Ireland this summer. Good stuff. Much better than the kid a few blocks down singing Danny Boy at the top of his lungs.
PotatoStew, Dec 17 2001

       What's a busker?
StarChaser, Dec 17 2001

       A busker is a person who stands in the street playing a musical instrument and attempting to solicit money. They can range where I am from a drunk tramp with a tin whistle attempting Jingle Bells, to a string quartet or a piper in full regalia. What do you call them in the USA? Street performers?
pottedstu, Dec 17 2001

       "Street performers" is the expression I know. "Bums" seems to be reserved for non-performing street people.

By the way [lg] those pervasive Peruvian Pan-Pipe performers (or are they all the same group?) are plentiful here as well.
bristolz, Dec 18 2001

       oh, I know. They are also particularly common in French Alpine ski resorts. I don't think it's just one group, because I saw some on Sunday morning in Glasgow and there were some on the street when I got off the train back in Aberdeen later in the afternoon - I suppose they could have got there before me but then I would have to conclude that they are stalking me around Scotland, which is not a nice concept.
lewisgirl, Dec 18 2001

       lewisgirl, if that were true, your life would be a Fast Show sketch.
calum, Dec 18 2001

       The French do that busker quality control thing because they have a Minister for Music, who comes up with some quite outlandish ideas to fill his time. French radio has to play 40% French language music, which sounds like a good idea until you hear much of the French language music which fulfils the quota. He also tried to bring in a law that said French DJs should get paid the perfomance royalties for the records they played by overseas artists. Don't think this one worked, I suppose because French Djs may suddenly stop playing French music entirely.   

       And I've seen the saga of misfortune routine quite a bit on the tube, both in prose and song (with accordian usually).
notripe, Dec 18 2001

       I thought it was comedy. I've never taken those S of M guys seriously.
lewisgirl, Dec 18 2001

       of, bubba, of.
but yes, probably.
lewisgirl, Dec 18 2001

       Maybe the PPPps are like Santa Claus, somehow.
beauxeault, Dec 18 2001

       [Aristotle] That's the norm in Rome as well - but they're a lot more ropey and a lot more smelly... and they'll play a god awful song on a hand-organ on a tubetrain, in a bar, restaurant, in fact just about anywhere...
Seaneeboy, Mar 06 2003


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