Buskers are the only performers making money at the Edinburgh Fringe. Here's how


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/08/05/buskers-are-the-only-performer.html

So. You’re trudging down the Royal Mile taking it all in. The World’s largest festival of the performing arts, and in such a beautiful city, too. Detestably young actors with a dream in their heart and Starbucks in their veins approach from every angle, lunging flyers at you like fencers thrusting a blade. You dodge, parry, apologise and avoid – priding yourself on your fringe street savvy. But then your attention is piqued by a noise. The unmistakable sound of genuine spontaneous fun. Your lizard brain makes you perk up like a meerkat, on the balls of your feet, trying to get a look at what might be occurring ahead. There’s a crowd. Could be anything. Could be something. You add yourself to their number, pushing in a little. Someone’s doing something. Looks like you missed whatever amazing feat caused the crowd to erupt like that, but lets stick around to see what happens next, right?


That was a long ride!


Including a video of you busking might well encourage me to read all of that…


This also seems to be why I enjoy watching “Fool Us!” so much.


I like the bit where Penn says something like, “I’ve got three words for you, “Mysterio’s Reverse Thimble”. Am I right?”, and the performer either looks rueful or smug.


The dominant form of street theatre in Trafalgar Square seems to be the levitating Yoda.


If only I’d read that when I was fifteen!


Eddie Izzard had a busking act early on his career, and yes, on a unicycle (but with a twist: he had a Houdini-like escape act on a unicycle!). The story is in his recent autobiography.


“Everyone likes seeing one of their own being made fun of, as long as its not them.”

very good info, thanks. i would like to remind you that picking someone out and making fun of them, can really, really hurt. i have seen this many times. i have had it done to me. please think before making this a part of your act. thank you for listening.


A nice, well-written article with fascinating insights into this profession. I enjoyed Mat’s writing style very much.

I’d also like to add to the comment before this one: don’t be a dick to your audience. I’ll never forget a street performer that I saw on the Royal Mile during the 2003 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He was entertaining and talented, and I was ready to toss him a few quid at the end of the show.

But then his very last words were these, “If you enjoyed my show, please consider leaving some money in my hat. Oh and just to let you know, I’m from Canada, NOT AMERICA” in a loud, clear voice. Sheesh. As an American, how eager do you think I was to give him money after that?


As an “American” (the U.S. kind), I’d be fine with it. Might even be tempted to give him more.

There are very many good reasons that the reputation of the U.S. abroad is shit. Maybe learn some of them, aye?


Why do you assume that I am unaware of the reasons why people hold negative opinions of Americans?


Because you came across that way. Seems to me that a reasonable “American” would agree that aspersions cast on their country are well deserved (and understand as well why a Canadian busker would want to distinguish themselves from USians).


Now you’re assuming that because you yourself feel a certain way about something, then everyone else should feel the same way.


Tangentially timely and amusing - starts out as the opposite of Mat’s theme and elides to cashless payments seamlessly. Two for the price of one!


It’s not about “feelings.” :roll_eyes:


Well, I think it is actually. Our individual points of view derive from our personal feelings on this topic.


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