The MacBitseach

I am The MacBitseach of Clan MacBitseach. (MacBitseach is Irish Gaelic for son of a bitch.)
This blog is about wearing, making, and some of the social aspects of kilts. I started wearing and making kilts in 2003.
If you have any questions, comments, or ideas, email me at macbitseach@gmail.com

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Location: Vancouver, B.C., Canada

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Universal Singer

I often see this busker downtown, while waiting for a bus. he plays guitar and sings a lot of folk music. You know; Bob Dylan stuff. He's seen better days. He's sixtyish, bad teeth, some interesting scars, and every now and then he rubs Rub-A535 on his shoulders.
Today, as I got to my stop, he was singing Born To Be Wild, which I thought was pretty cool and he sang it well. Then he went into Universal Soldier. If you don't know this anti-war song, a lot of the lines start with, "He ..."
While he was singing, a twenty something woman started asking him repeatedly, "Who are you singing about? Who are you singing about? Why won't you tell me?"
In the middle of the song!
He ignored her and finished the song because no matter what happens, you finish the song!
She had moved off to talk to her boyfriend by then and she was waving her arm like she was irked that the busker hadn't answered her.
Then she walked back.
"Who were you singing about? she asked.
The busker sighed.
"If you'd have listened to the song, you'd have heard who it was."
"Just tell me who it was!"
"You're not old enough to understand," he said.
"I'm not underage!"
"It was a protest song. An anti-war song."
"It was a stupid song! Didn't even say who it was!"
"It did. You just didn't listen."
"I have some hearing problems. I'm mostly deaf."
"It was an anti-war song about every soldier."
"It was stupid!"
"So you're pro-war?"
"Why would you say that? You're stupid and your song is stupid!'
And she walked back to her boyfriend, as if she'd scored a victory.
"Selfish, selfish people!" said the busker to the sky.
Then he looked at me.
"What do you do with people like that?" he asked.
I shrugged. "All you can do is keep singing."
"I have to," he smiled. "I need to get enough coin to get back home."
Then he started in on Where Have All The Flowers Gone? and I listened.
My bus arrived as he was done. I dropped a fiver in his open guitar case and said, "Keep singing."
He winked at me. "Thanks. Now I'll get home."
As my bus pulled away, I heard him start singing Old Macdonald Had A Farm, as he does when there's kids at the bus stop.

I can't decide which way to continue writing regarding that episode; people's increasing sense of entitlement, or artist's duty to help artists? Both seem important to ponder.

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