From my first visit to London in 1987, I have been fascinated by buskers. For those of you not familiar with this term, according to Wikipedia tell us: Street performance or busking is the practice of performing in public places, for gratuities. In many countries the rewards are generally in the form of money but other gratuities such as food, drink or gifts may be given. Street performance is practiced all over the world by men, women and children and dates back to antiquity. In English-speaking countries people engaging in this practice are called street performers or buskers.
Although buskers can be jugglers, acrobats, mimers, or any other performers, the ones that capture my heart are the musicians. I am entranced by the sudden strains of a saxophone as I head down an escalator into a tunnel leading to the underground. Or the baritone crooning a melody from a bygone era. Or a small band performing in the cold at the entrance to Oxford Circus station. I always thought anyone could busk, but further research has told me you have to audition, be selected, get a license, etc. And sadly, research is indicating that busking has been on the decline.
However, the Mayor of London has created a taskforce for Buskers who are charged with making London the world’s most busker-friendly city. They are coming up with better laws and regulations to make it easier for buskers and Londoners to enjoy the free, live, and easily accessible music everywhere.
And that is certainly music to my ears!