Honest busking

I give street buskers a buck whenever I can. Always. Like I thought it would bring good art-karma or something, but more because it takes a bit of guts to set up on the street, and bravery should be rewarded. Along Clement Street in the Inner Richmond, we don’t often get buskers. Save for the one guy who seems to come out every week with his accordion on Clement and 4th, the only music you’ll hear comes wafting out of bars or thumping out of the cars, the cars that go boom. We’re Tigra and Bunny, and we… sorry. Or, occasionally, you’ll hear a tour trolley-bus full of drunken revellers belting out 80s tunes as they stop at the light outside your apartment (an accurance more amusing, fortunately, than annoying).

One night this week, there was a busker sitting on the step of a shop closed for the night, playing her guitar and singing as a couple people stood and watched. I moved in to drop a dollar in her tip box, and only caught the sign propped up behind it as I was leaning down: “Spare change for pot.”

I think San Francisco is the only city I’ve been in where one can get away with that sort of honesty.

2 Comments so far

  1. Brendan (unregistered) on May 16th, 2005 @ 12:56 am

    These signs were amusing when I first started seeing them a while back. But now every crum bum has one saying “Why Lie? Its for booze/pot/sex/etc.” Just goes to show that when you give people handouts they start to feel entitled to it. Thank God Gavin at least cut down on the insanity of giving these people up to $400 in cash every month.


  2. Jason (unregistered) on May 16th, 2005 @ 7:44 am

    I would make a big differentiation between homeless people and buskers. Buskers I’ve known are people with homes and jobs or who are in school who either want to make an extra buck or practice/promote their musical talent. The woman that night could sing and play well, and I really don’t care what she spent her tips on. Plus there’s always the possibility that her sign was a spoof.



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