Busking in Portland

Finding a job in this town is difficult. I am looking for a really specific thing, which there probably aren't that many positions for, but I'm still looking.

So, I've been downtown these past few weeks, busking. Playing music on the streets. It's quite fun, and I enjoy it. Plus, it gives me time to practice playing flute to a semi-audience.

It doesn't seem like too many people do it, but also, the weather has been quite absurd. I've been going to the Pearl district, setting up my little box, and wailing away on a bunch of flutey tunes. This has been met with kind words, happy glances, and a few dollars here and there. So the trick now is to figure out how to 'stand out.' I wanna be the Jean-Luc Picard of street fluting.

I've selected a few tunes that are somewhat recognizable by pretty much everyone, and those seem to get more attention. Things like Sailor's Hornpipe, which many will just call the Popeye song. It has a long, interesting history outside of the confines of modern culture, and most people seem to recognize it. Another I'm going to try out today is the Yankee Doodle tune, but as a polka. What the hell is a Doodle?

I've read the busker's agreement for Portland(I carry a copy with me so the security people can't fuck with me), which states that you have one hour to perform, then remove yourself from the spot. You can play the same place twice in a day.

With these rules in place, there are many who don't follow them. What good is a rule if no one breaks it? The best example is the dude who sits in front of Powell's books, on 11th and NW Couch. He's always there. Every time I've been near Powell's in the last year he's been sitting in the same spot with some sign that doesn't make sense. He has a guitar. Sometimes he plays it, but he never moves.

I haven't tried playing there while he is sitting, but I met a fiddle player dude yesterday, named Brian, who says he doesn't even bother playing there anymore, unless the guy is gone. He's apparently rude, yells profanity, and is generally vulgar. I'm sure he's not well, and it's regrettable that we, as a society, allow for anyone to have to endure the hardships of poverty, illness, or mental instability. But, until we fix every single problem for all people for all time, I just want to play my flute there!@!#$@

Today, if I get an opportunity, I'll ask one of the downtown security people what they think about the situation, and maybe we can get something done, and potentially benefit everyone.

 

 

conor