How often have you walked past a soulful singer strumming a guitar in the town centre? A lone violinist bringing a tender classical repertoire to life? The miracle of what these brave souls create is too often lost in a world where ‘music’ is everywhere. And they are brave souls, you speak to buskers, they’re hardened by necessity, absorbing jeers and constant requests, battling with others on the street, often lumped in with the ne-do-wells. Occasionally stolen from, yet always graceful, always sincere and always uplifting. They don’t necessarily do it for the money, but we all need money to live. Such is the way of the world. We earn money for our time and share money and time with those who brighten our days. A busker doesn’t ask, doesn’t beg. They provide a portal to infinity. They create moments out of thin air and they conjure beautiful scenes in our urban areas. If there were no music on the streets, surely the heart of the city would cease to beat with such vibrancy. With such overwhelming excitement for the possibilities that these concentrated zones of human invention and interaction can produce.
Buskers provide street food for the soul. And just as we must nourish our bodies with good quality food, we must nourish our mind and spirit with good quality experiences and impressions.
Music is connection, but connection doesn’t always need to be perfect to be effective. Forget making it. ‘Famous celebrity’ is not a career path. To make it on television is to sell yourself to the highest bidder. Maybe you could have spent all that time becoming a better person rather than chasing fame and status. Fame is a by-product of being really good at something. Fame is not something of itself that should be sought. ‘Youtube Star’ is not a legitimate career choice. You have to actually be doing something of value in order to gain the respect of the people around you. Otherwise sooner or later, you will be uncovered as just another distraction and will be instantly forgotten. Seek to become good at expressing yourself and lifting the spirits of others, then fame won’t even matter. When you do things for the right reasons you build your foundations on solid rock. When you do things for the wrong reason, you’re only ever one storm away from falling to pieces (being torn to pieces).
So next time you see someone on the street playing music. Remind yourself they’re not doing it for the money, they’re doing it because they have to. Because to not play music just isn’t an option. So give them a moment of your time, let them lift your spirits and spare them some change for the freedom they offer you.
Spare a couple of pounds to enjoy their heartfelt performance today, because tomorrow you might be paying £60 a ticket just to hear the same songs! Musicians are some of the humblest people in the world. Don’t be fooled by their timidity, it is borne out of a reverence for the universe. Put them on stage and they’ll remind you why you’re here. Remind you what’s worth fighting for, remind you how to feel real feelings. Remind you to be yourself. [To remember the future you paint in your dreams.]
Why do they play music in shops? Has music being everywhere reduced the value of the busker on the town centre streets? A busker is not homeless or necessarily even poor. They play music because they have to. Because if they don’t express their feelings through songs, they climb the walls. They perform because that’s why they are here. They were put on this earth to play music.