Busking beggars

On the face of it buskers are having a go as they stand strumming a ukulele or murdering a love song, and who is so miserable that they are not lifted by someone having a go! Me, perhaps. What, I ask, are buskers having a go at? Begging?

In my column in The Herald today I argue that there is no material difference between the fellow who bangs bongo drums as prospective contributors approach and the alcoholic who asks passers-by for $2. And the buskers' claim that they are street performers or entertainers is arrant nonsense. Even those few who do have musical ability are not offering entertainment for the minute it takes a pedestrian to pass, and very seldom in Newcastle do we see a street performer who'll attract a ring of watchers.

So what are the Hunter's buskers providing that justifies their hope or even expectation of payment? Nothing more, I say, than the fellow who quietly asks "Have you got $2 mate?", and given the noise some make, much less.

If it is desperation that has driven some of them to beg, would they not be better served by begging for a job?

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