Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Unlicenced in Melbourne today.

Busking permits are required in the city of Melbourne and from memory there is an audition to go through as part of the application process.  The idea is that this provides a certain level of "amenity" for people in the city.

Knowing this, think about this: I was walking down Swanston Street after work this afternoon, heading towards Flinders Street Station, when I heard a man screaming.  He was screaming as part of something that sounded like it could be a performance.  People walking towards me, coming from where the man was were sniggering and shaking their heads.  Then I saw him.

There was a bearded man wearing a slinky, short dress with a bright yellow floral print on it.  He was "singing" apparently to accompany the puppets which he was controlling.  I think they were puppets.  From a distance the one he was dangling looked like it could have been some kind of bird, but as I came closer, it just looked like a bunch of sticks attached to strings which were attached to a puppet frame for him to use.  Behind him on the footpath was a pile of all these "puppets".  He was jiggling them up and down and scream-singing nonsense to the peak hour crowd.

It was bizarre.  But as I walked past, I couldn't help but smile.  He was a sight to behold.  Even the fact of this bearded bloke and his choice of frock was bold, even before you consider his musicality and the weird stick puppets.  I didn't want to meet his eyes (they were crazy eyes) but I found him quite compelling - it was hard not to.  He was completely committed to his performance and the energy he was giving off was very positive.

Initially my thought was "what's that terrible racket?", but having been in the presence of this man I'm thinking that he did offer some entertainment value, albeit unconventional.  And he sure knew how to wear that dress.

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