I ran into my neighbour Fred the other day as I journeyed on the streetcar up to Jane and Finch, and he gave me a lowdown on the politics of busking in this city, which I had NO idea about. I was shocked (or maybe i wasn't) to find out it's practically corporate.
One needs to audition (250 people are chosen), acquire a license (100 licenses given out, a bunch of people are put in a waiting line) schedules are made, and said qualified buskers have a particular station they are allowed to stand at which rotates every three days. There are a few loopholes; if you arrive at a designated busking spot and if it is vacant you can perform there until the performer scheduled arrives; if s/he doesn't, you're in. There are all the typical human foibles: hogging the "sweet" spots, holding places for strategically chosen colleagues, waiting in "line" so if the scheduled busker doesn't show up the sweet spot is yours, etc.
I guess what I find strange about it is the realization of just how much our "public" spaces are commandeered.
I suppose this administration is yet another helpful tactic in that endless struggle to end natural human conflict, but one never hears about this sort of thing in the storybooks.
(No I haven't. But I would, in a pinch, read a storybook about a busker. If one existed.)
Why Jane and Finch you say? Friday was my last class teaching a book-making workship affiliated with AGYU up yonder. I had this moment of envy; The kids, who had come in with cell-phones and chatter and that buzz of gossipy worry one always has after school (or so I found) were practically transfixed an hour later by the task of sewing pages into a book. I'm sure there was a time when simple things like threading string could override my own worries and become just as valuable an occupation.
Has been passed on. As of about an hour from now. May the rain hold off until I get everything home. And though those drawings now feel ancient and I'm happy to retire them, it's like handing off the flame or something, I'm back to that little vacuum of "private beneath-the-bed artistry". It's amazing they don't create an art gallery whose rooms house all their art beneath beds. Or in old suitcases or atop armoires. It would be very accurate.
That said, I must to Pages now. However not before I record this:
I remain, dear reader(s), despite the relentless pursuit of business, your humble and most obedient blogger.