So after a few months of absence from the busking scene, I decided last Friday that it's time again to pick up my guitar and hit the streets! My original plan was to head to the bridge at Clarke Quay, where I had some fun playing there a couple of times previously, and I thought it was one of the best street-singing spots in Singapore. Unfortunately, the weather didn't look too forgiving and I decided to try my luck at another spot in Orchard where I played once or twice before...which is when I bumped into this dude here:
He just started busking at that spot and that means I'd have to look around for alternatives. I decided to hang around for a bit and listened to his songs, but after a few minutes, this security guard from Wheelock came and asked him to leave. I was quite surprised since this spot has been quite a popular place for buskers for years and I've never heard of complaints from the mall management. So I decided to speak with the supervisor to find out why the sudden change in their "tolerant" policy.
When i reached his office, he seemed like he was expecting someone like me to come down to his office to question him on this issue, and he duly showed me a news article (laminated no less!) that described how the busking areas in Orchard has been defined more specifically now. He told me if we wanted to sing there we'd have to contact LTA. I wanted to tell him that the tunnel is not a private property of the mall and the way I see it, we're hardly driving away any crowds from their establishment...then again he didn't look like he was in the mood to negotiate so I figured it'd be easier to just find another spot. I think one of these days I should really pen a proper proposal letter to SMRT and LTA to propose more busking spots (much like how the Tube in London had all these designated spots for busking).
Obviously, the busker was disappointed when i came back to the tunnel to break the news to him. Actually at that point I thought that will really be the end of my busking night since I can't really think of a spot in Orchard that is actually good for my type of busking (besides the wheelock tunnel). Fortunately the busker brought me to this other spot adjacent to Shaw. That spot is quite noisy because of the human traffic so I never gave it much thought; but the busker advised that with my amp i might be able to pull it off...so i thought i might as well give it a go since I've got all my "barang barang" with me. And I'm glad I did. It's not the best place to busk, but the place is enclosed such that the echo actually sounded quite good :)
So i set up my gears and played for more than 2 hours. Tammy came to give her support (yay!) and helped me took some photo with the iPhone.
Half-way through my busking I noticed an old lady setting up some "street store" around 20m away from where I was. I know I've talked about how I want my busking to be a financially self-sustainable activity in the past, but I've always tried to make it a point that I'm not busking in an adjacent location to a more "needy" busker/street-vendor (yes i do think of busking as somewhat akin to the real estate business). I took a look at the money in my box (i'm guessing ~$70 worth?) and took another look at her...I guess I'd just have to be not so "investment-driven" for once and passed her my income...
Well, she was very pleased when I passed her the $$, and she told me this will cover her rent...when i heard that i thought how terrible it'd be if I had made a decision to do otherwise...anyways, she insisted of "selling" me one of those items she had laid out on her mat...and there're plenty, ranging from instant noodle packs to t-shirt to canned food...
So i took home the only thing that i could think of being useful to me...a really dated guidebook for A level economics....that is the last thing i expected to find from her "collection"...well, i took it, for ~$70...this is one of those few times in life where i actually feel good overpaying for something..hee :)