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Battle of the Bagpipes

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Samantha Lee
Samantha Lee

Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a busker’s life for me.

Who heard about Busking Boy from Dunedin that got stopped from busking, with bagpipes, in the CBD?

Apparently he was noisy, and he got complained about, and briskly stopped by the Evil Dunedin Council of Doom (EDCOD, P.O. Box 666, Dunedin Central).

Thus, he’s a bit angry.

Now, far be it from me to be the voice of reason, and I mean no offence to the Scottish, the Dunedish, the skirt-wearing, or busking communities, or, indeed, Busking Boy, but listen:

Hear that? Nothing.

Peaceful, isn’t it. Now imagine you have a cat.

Bring the cat into the immediate vicinity of your eardrum.

Yank its tail.

That is a sound 85% comparable to a bagpipe.

Now imagine you are a shopkeeper.

You have to listen to a 21 year old guy who either has a very high tolerance for pain, or whom has taken the news about the recession to heart and is just tryin’ to make a livin’ the best way he can, ma’am.

Eight Hours a Day.

Five Days a Week.

Give or take.

You do have to admire the tenacity of Busking Boy, though- They stopped him, and he’s going to fight, for the right, to paaarr…busk.

Really sorry. Love Dunedin. Love Scotland.

But for my money, I’m so firmly on the side of the council, it’s practically an inappropriate relationship.

However, Busking Boy, I have the solution- come to Auckland.

Auckland, I can hear you saying “ix-nay on the invitation-ay”, but let us extend the arm of friendship to our fellow kiwi brethren. (And can you believe, that’s the first time I’ve ever written that sentence. Shocking.)

But, we have cool buskers, there’s a remote possibility you’ll make some money.

Or at the very least, you’ll be hazed mercilessly by the homeless and the business people alike, until you get a job as an investment banker and start ordering a coffee frap at Starbucks every morning.

Then, as the years pass by, you’ll marry a Pilates instructor, move to Waiheke Island, and shove that nagging thought, that somehow, somewhere, a caterwauling instrument of bliss is somehow missing from your life to the back of your mind.

Clearly, I have taken some artistic licence with this and/ or need to up the medication, but my point, if I had one, was that a) Dunedin clearly can’t handle the jandal on buskers, and b) Auckland buskers rule.

We have many stalwart and true examples of good busking, from The Guy With The Hook, who stands motionless for hours on end, to The Guy With The Invisible Dog, who it must be said is so good that nobody is entirely certain whether he’s acting with his collar-on-a-stick, or if he actually thinks he has a dog, albeit, y’know. Invisible.

And if that’s not enough, the Auckland International Busker's Festival is kicking off this week. Now, I have to admit that the majority of these acts do not actually belong to Auckland, they are actually awesome acts from The World at Large and they’ll be gone in a week, but that’s okay- they’re here now- they are officially Our Buskers.

And it’s a hard job- I mean, if I was having a knee-jerk reaction to the recession (and generally knee jerk is not the best kind of reaction one can have) I could not busk. I have no discernable skills, weird things I can do with my tongue, or, y’know, the willpower it takes to stand on the street and do weird stuff for money. 

So, kudos, Busking Boy, at least you tried- but if the first thing you want to do when you wake up in the morning is stand in the street in a kilt and play music (and I use the term loosely), then you might want to check out real estate in Secluded Hilltops, because, in the immortal and poignant words of the KiwiBank Lady, mate: “the tide is turning and it ain’t going your way.”

WHAT: Auckland International Busker’s Festival

WHERE: Auckland CBD

DEETS: 4-8 Feb 2009

WHY: I don’t know. Do I always have to find you a reason?

HELP:  I’m going Busker Watching Thursday night- who has a Recommended and/or Stay Out of Knife Distance

act? Anyone?…Okay then. Thanks.

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