How Do You Deal?
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.”