(with apologies to Wild Cherry)
So here’s the thing, right: I don’t (really) want to use this blog as a platform to complain about people and things – despite the fact that I’ve called it Betty on a Box – on a soapbox geddit. BORING. And despite being gainfully employed, I will never change my opinion about people having the right to be on the dole if that’s what they want. I mean, my taxes contribute to far worse things – like private hospitals and the mining industry. And really, given that I spent many a day being paid for to be creative all those years ago, I am the last person to make a statement against those who choose unemployment over a job at Maccas. But I wish that the dole was easier to get because it would give the guy who sits at the bottom of Platform 1 at Sunshine station some money to get lessons. The dude is clearly taking the piss.
I mean, I love a busker. I really do.
Except for the Sonic Manipulator – he’s too loud and he freaks me out.
And the living statues. Do I need to explain?
And the freaking bagpipe player on the Swanston Street Bridge. I just want to toss him into the Yarra. Freak.
And I really don’t like the kid on Swanston Street with Down’s Syndrome. Not because he has Down’s Syndrome, clearly. So before I get attacked with the cruelty stick, let me just say that the kid simply CANNOT SING. He’s totally shit. I really want to know what asshole at the council decided it would be a good idea to give him a busker’s licence. I think THAT person is truly taking the piss. Hopefully the kid becomes a great singer – like the blind accordian player outside Myer Lonsdale Street who used to be shit but is now renowned thanks to a few lessons.
But back to my guy at Sunshine. He’s there most days, which is a bummer because we recently had a duo that was all Simon and Garfunkel meets the Black Keys.
I give them money quite happily. But the other dude is mostly always there. I see money on top of his guitar case. I see people dropping money onto his guitar case. I mean, he’s affable enough, wishes everyone a “good morning, brother” or “morning, sister”. But I’ve never actually heard him play or sing. At first I figured I’d just caught him while he was tuning up. He’d strum a few strings. Not a few chords. Oh no. A few very out of tune strings is all. And I realised, the guy doesn’t actually know how to play. It was a total Oprah moment (of the lightbulb variety).
He’s a scammer. Oh I was incensed. I mean, people give him money to PLAY. Right?
Well not me. Nup. I want my jobless to sing for their supper. Like the time JJ and I were in on a train in the New York Subway. It’s like being at the American Idol auditions. And you don’t mind handing over your hard-earned traveller’s cheques. (Also, I’ve seen episodes of NCIS and despite old Mayor Giuliani’s three strikes policy, them Yankees still carry guns.)
I like to be entertained. And like I said, I’m all for the creatives BUT NOT THIS SCAMMER. NO SIR-E, BOB.
When I had the lightbulb moment, I texted JJ, and he said:
“Well why don’t you trick him and ask him to play his favourite tune.”
Yeah, I thought. That’s the ticket.
So yesterday, the moment he offered his “good morning, sister”, I said:
“You should actually play something sometime.” There, that’ll show him.
And I hottailed it up the platform because, ladies and gents, this May not be new York, but it’s still Sunshine and I ain’t taking chances.