• "...Then, suddenly, he began to quiz me briefly but explicitly, officially establishing my status as a common criminal..."    Well, I'd set up on this particular afternoon, replacing a hardy, fresh-faced high school boy who'd been working miracles with the bagpipes. He was kilted out and richly gifted; I could have listened for hours, but he told me that he might die if he actually tried to play the pipes non-stop for hours. He wished me luck and then went on his way. I suppose luck is a relative quantity, when you think about it. Funny thing: I'd never really noticed the police in Melbourne at all, and didn't have any idea how they related to buskers. So shortly after nightfall,

    Apr 08,
  • ...Gee, Officer---How did I know you needed a license to perform on the streets of Melbourne?   Just a few days of sitting and strumming for hours on the street can give you amazing insights into human nature and tendencies---as can all business that is done in so direct a manner, I would imagine. It's important not to go out with enormous expectations when busking, if you really hope to enjoy it in a big way. In the same way that not everyone is inclined to stop in at this auto body shop or that restaurant, not everyone lies awake at night dreaming of paying to hear you do your Guitar Hero thing, either!

    Apr 06,
  • ...To my utter shock and glee, passersby started plunking coins into my open guitar case not long after I began...   I say I wanted to see what the "busking" scene was all about down in Melbourne; but really, it was the friend who'd hired me to write---she's the one who suggested I try it. I said, "You want me to come out here and do my little lazy-hobby thing in front of all these people?" To which she replied: "You don't know anybody down here...How humiliating could it be? And who knows, maybe you could make a few bucks while you're at it!" Well, in truth, we had just walked past a particularly mangy-looking adolescent on a street corner, one mauling

    Apr 04,
  • I saw "buskers", or street performers, everywhere I went---and, having taken my guitar Down Under, I wanted to see what that was like.    I grew up without giving anybody much trouble along the way; I studied, I "played nice"; went to college, got a job---got several, in fact. Did the office thing for years, wore rather nice suits---and at some point before sanity, or cowardice, kicked in, I even found high-heels somewhat amusing. In New York, like scads of other women, I actually wore power-sneakers with my Dior ensembles as I made my way from home to the subway, and from the subway to work---for awhile, at CBS Broadcast International, and then at public television station WNYC. Footwear-wise, I

    Apr 03,

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