How Do You Deal?

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June 6, 2008
By Posted in busking | 3 Comments »

Buskers’ conversation:

Django guitar player: “I recently had an encounter with another busker at 6th Avenue and 14 street (‘L’ train platform). He’s a burly guy who plays acoustic guitar. I was in the middle of playing, and he wanted the spot. When I told him I was just getting started, he verbally attacked me with a tirade of hate/racist epithets.
Do you know who this guy is? Have you had to deal with him or have you found yourself in a similar situation? How did you deal with it?”

Saw Lady: “I’m sorry to hear of your unpleasant encounter.
I don’t think I know who that guitar player was.
I have had similar encounters, but I am happy to say they are rare these days. Most buskers have respect for one another. However, when this does happen, you have to hold your ground, or they will learn that you fold easily and then will proceed to bug you whenever they see you. I try to be firm but always polite, treat them with respect, but not show fear and definitely not fold. This has enabled me to gain the respect of such people, who then stopped harassing me.
You are lucky this guy only attacked you verbally. There is a group of hip-hop dancers at 34th street who are physically violent. They destroyed my friend’s amplification equipment and they drew a knife on my other friends who were busking there.
I had a Russian keyboard/singer try to destroy my equipment. This was a particularly violent incident, so I yelled out ‘police, police’ and that made him go away…”

Django guitar player: “Another busker told me that this guy is totally nuts, and if you try to set up on him, he’ll kick your money into the tracks.”

Saw Lady: “Setting up on people is a bad thing to do anyway.”

Django guitar player: “Yeah, I know.. I’ve had people do that to me. I guess I’m trying to find out if there’s a way to contact the police immediately when down on the platform.”

Saw Lady: “The police hates it when a busker calls them for a buskers’ dispute… that has been my experience, anyway.
This may sound funny, but it’s true – there is a violin-busker in the subway who actually brings a body guard with him…”

Django guitar player: “A paid body guard??!!”

Saw Lady: “I would think so.”

Django guitar player: “What station?”

Saw Lady: “I saw them at Times Square.”

Busker in Central Park


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3 Responses to How Do You Deal?

  1. Vintage Kids' Books My Kid Loves on June 9, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    I took a quick snapshot of the singing saw page….

    Sooo random. I’m friends with Mecca Bodega up in NYC. They do the subway gig too…

    Good luck and keep on singing!

  2. Key on June 11, 2008 at 11:54 pm

    hello natalia, how’ve you been?

    i’ve just heard about your blog about the-taking-over-the-spot-guy from aaron. so i read it.

    it’s fxxking JAMES! one of my YODA guy who is a player in the subway from japan, james kicked his case which is money in to the tracks long
    time ago. so he told me that i had to be careful with him. he bothered me a few times for 8 years. mostly i got rid of him because of my loud
    voice. but last time he told me that “the reason you can make a lot of money is the people feel sympathy or sorry because of your english…” or
    something “just play harmonica and guitar!” when he left. what a loser! but i still got pissed so i was after him and i scared him with glaring at him all the time. anyway, my friends got mad about it so still looking for him and someday they’ll run into him… thing makes me
    pissed about the most is he just picks guys who don’t look stronger than him as i saw.

    we’re musicians so we don’t wanna make a noise to take a spot just for money. but some players do and i really hate it so i fight against it.

    he’s a white and tall guy who has a pony
    tail(sometimes) and kinda looks like STING. gutar and sing “hotel california” or
    “drive(the cars)” or “wonderful tonight” which are bad for me, all the fxxikn’ time.

    but i think it’s not gonna help anything unless they fight against him or report to the cops.

    i wish i ran into him at 1st ave station. because some of the people from there told me before “if someone fxxks you up, we’re gonna get a son
    of a bitch, ok man?”

    stay cool and have a nice day


  3. Christopher Waldrop on June 19, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    Maybe this is naive of me, but it would seem to me that buskers have to be respectful of each other. It’s a very competitive field. And if passersby hear a busker being a jerk it reflects badly on the whole group.
    It’s good to know that most are respectful of each other.

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