Buskers vs Panhandlers:


My youngest son is studing art and entertainment management at university in North Vancouver. For the summer he decided to raise money for next year by obtaining a busking permit and becoming a street entertainer. His shtick is to dress like space traveler and play electronic music. If it doesn’t rain (and it seldom does in Vancouver), If he does a good job, and attracts an appreciative crowd, he gets paid by those he entertains, if not he goes home broke.

The other day a collage professor I know asked how my son was, “You know the one who begs for money in Vancouver?”

Vagrants, con’s, homeless and lazy people beg for money, I felt somewhat insulted and Liam would be too.

We have taught Liam that what other people think of him is none of his business! I on the other hand I spent a lifetime worrying about what they may say. I was taught not to speak too loud, not say anything they may find offensive, don’t laugh or cry too loud and don’t sing or dance in the rain as they may say things about me.

Follow this advice and you will always be safe. Don’t stretch, reach or jump for goals you may not reach that way you won’t be disappointed and most important of all they can’t make fun of you!
It took me years to break free of that program, what a waste of time it had been. Now here is my young son unencumbered by such beliefs and a Professor is categorizing him as a beggar.

Just so we are clear let me explain the differences between these people.

One usually has disheveled hair, unkempt clothes, a vacant looking face, and is given money regardless of how well he does his job teaching collage.

Beggars are often homeless people with many of the same physical characteristics as profs but either through choice or bad choices don’t have an income or pension plan giving them money so they beg for their money.

A busker on the other hand is street performer who is paid based on how well he entertains the crowds.

Being a street performer would not have been my choice, after all what would they say? But in his field this makes perfect sense. Many of the wealthiest entertainers started out this way, if Liam is to have some as clients one day it only benefits him to know what it was like. It forces him to put himself out there on the edge open to criticism. He told me that every day he is scared and wants to quit but goes out anyway and he is make a lot more than minimum wage. One store has asked him to work in front of their place because of the size of crowds he draws. He is learning what it means to feel the fear and do it anyway, to have his own small business, and greet and meet strangers.

My advice to my son is keep going! I know your motto is “If you are not living on the edge… you are taking up too much room” but stay safe, one day you will look back on this time as a real growing experience and find they , who matter most supported your effort.

3 thoughts on “Buskers vs Panhandlers:

  1. Pingback: A Busker’s Precarious Existence « Dan Armishaw

  2. Pingback: Business should busk. | Ron Tite

  3. Pingback: A Busker's Precarious Existence | Dan ArmishawDan Armishaw

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