Since my readership is starting to increase, I've decided to post a little interactive segment in between my activist-y ranting. If this goes well and I receive emails (aside from the ones asking me to marry them or telling me I'm a jerk) I'll totally make this a regular segment to my blog that will be updated more regularly than each time something in real life pisses me off or I find evocative and feel the need to stand on a soapbox over.
Today's question is one I get a heckuva lot: Why don't you create a character with an umbrella and waterproof costumes and busk in the rain? (also under this topic is 'Why don't you busk in the winter'?)
The short answer is, well, when it's raining, as much as I'd love to perform for you, if you're not interested in staying to watch, I'm not interested in staying to perform. Since a street show is the sum of it's audience, and a street show can't *happen* without an audience, then I'm pretty much shitouttaluck.
The long answer is well, I've done it and I have conflicting feelings about it. During the winter, I admit, I enjoy going out the week before Christmas to perform for busy shoppers down at a major shopping centre in the heart of Toronto (this year, unfortunately, I will be out of the country and unable to do that!) and while freezing my butt off for few chattering smiles may very well be worth a little bit, the general public oftentimes confuse me for a desperate homeless person in need of a couple of bucks. A couple of winters ago, I was busking before the holidays, and a woman from a shelter gave me a sleeping bag. I had to chase her down to give back the bag that should have been given to somebody who really needed it. Having a great apartment with awesome roommates and heating, I can confidently say I need the sleeping bag less than a homeless person.
I find, also, when busking during inclimate weather, it's harder to keep the crowd on your side loving what you do instead of feeling sorry for you. I'm not interested in feeling sorry for myself or feeling the pangs of having a lower social standing because I'd decided to go out and perform for the poor bastards who have no choice but to go out into that weather because they have to go to work. From my perspective, I feel sorry for anyone who has to go outside when it rains and I'd love to make them smile as they dash between raindrops! Yet, that is certainly not what the majority of the public seems to think. I suppose it's that whole 'transferrence of feelings' thing we tend to have as a collective consciousness.
Lastly, of course, it's all about the almighty dollar. If you don't want to stay and watch, you aren't going to pay. And I'm not prepared to stand outside and get soaked, or have my toes fall off from the cold for a few lousy bucks.
Well, folks, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you, the general public, might have about busking in the rain.
If you have a question to send to "Ask a Busker", please email them to: firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to hear from you!