What damage the 50 pence in the cup?

My busker rule is, “if I have change, I should put something in the guitar case or hat”.
This is usually around 40 or 50 pence, which seems pretty reasonable for spending 10 to 30 seconds listening to an acoustic version of a song I am not very keen on in any form.
My philosophy is,”hell, we’re all in showbiz, let’s share it about.”
I think my primeval self, the one that is discreetly hiding my belief in some form of monkey god, is imagining that if I don’t cross the trilby with silver, my own gig of the evening will be cursed.

I have been wondering if I can work out a way of coaxing the best songs out of a busker by changing the sum of money depending on the cover version. If I drop five pounds into the hat because the lady with the lute is playing Kicker Conspiracy, will this lead to an outbreak of buskers only playing Fall medleys?

On the way back from tonight’s Old Rope gig, there was a man begging with a cup on the train.
I am a white, middle class liberal, so that means I am a hypocrite. I’ve checked the newspaper columnists, so I must be. The newspaper columnists are also frequently white and middle class, but because they are cunts, this means they have decided they are not hypocrites. “Look at me, i am white and middle class and hateful for money, how more honest could I be?”.

What is the right thing to do when someone is begging? There seem to be a lot more beggars in the last year, almost up to 1980s standard. We’re all in it together, it’s just that they forgot to give the homeless the details that Vodaphone have for triumphantly scamming a government and a country, probably just an oversight.

Should I put money in the cup, or by doing so, am I getting a junkie their last fix or a criminal mastermind another 50 pence. It’s only 50 pence, I can afford 50 pence. Will my 50 pence exacerbate the problem? Am I only giving the 50 pence because I want to appear kind. It is a minimal donation for a brief tingle of, “I have been altruistic”. Though that would only be true if before and after tI dropped it inot the cup, I wasn’t going through this rigmarole of confusion.

Obviously, it would be best to donate to official charities, but that is in place already. This is about those moments where you are confronted by a human who appears to be in need.
Is it best to do nothing? Am I always being scammed?
Is it better that this 50 pence goes towards my bottle of the beer for the way home rather than theirs? Or is it more insidious that that?

Should I just up my donation for 30 seconds of a George Ezra cover to one pound?

And now over to you, Hive Mind.

I am doing occasional gigs – off to Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, Leicester and a few more 

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5 Responses to What damage the 50 pence in the cup?

  1. liam jordan says:

    “No, not ‘ahhhh'”

  2. Sinéad Noonan says:

    Do you know I used to agonize like this too and often give money to buskers. But then I realized that if I was homeless I would probably drink myself into oblivion, maybe even just to keep warm or forget, a little while, about my horrible reality, so what right has my privileged self to judge someone else in a situation I can’t begin to imagine. And charity with strings attached? That’s just taking away a bit more autonomy from someone who is already powerless.

  3. Roger says:

    Is seems to be a very recent thing that I encounter homeless people on my way home from work in the evening.

    Six months or so ago they weren’t there and I didn’t have to think about them as people rather than statistics.
    The bus journeys home used to be guilt free.
    I would get off one bus in the city centre, walk past an upmarket pub glancing casually through large glass windows at seated drinkers chatting.
    Then on past some dark doorways I look across the road at another drinking hole where the raucous clientele are spilling out onto the road are reminiscent of a beryl cook painting.

    Recently things have changed, the dark doorways now have sleeping bags and small collections of belongings. I notice a sleeping bag is occupied, the persons inside invisible, face covered trying to get some sleep on this cold and noisy night.
    I am conflicted.
    Guilt and shame, how has ‘society’ come to this.

    One night I saw a group of people talking to one person sleeping in a doorway and thought they were some council funded help team. As I got closer I could see they were sporting some credentials which said ‘Street Pastor’ and I thought it would have been better if they were offering street pasta to cold hungry people instead.

    I am not religious and can be suspicious of motives.
    Then I thought here are some people going out of their way to talk to someone alone, cold and hungry in the street. They are already better people than me.

    For me a concern is that one of these homeless people might talk to me, I have only six minutes to reach another bus stop and catch the last bus home and I don’t have time…

    A couple of nights ago I had my headphones in listening to some podcast or other on my fairly expensive android tablet when I heard something.
    Looked to my side and it was a person sat in his sleeping bag in a doorway.
    I hadn’t heard what he said.
    We chatted for a few minutes.
    I seem to remember moaning about my low paid part-time job because I like some sympathy and he mentioned that it was a job.
    It’s not all about me so I asked if he was sleeping out all night in the near zero temperatures and he was, he then asked me if I had any change, almost as an aside and as though he was embarrassed to do so.
    I gave him all the change I had and wished him well.

    I passed an ATM and withdrew £10 in case I had time to buy a drink or some food before the bus arrived.

    Recently politicians boast of how they take the low paid (me) out of tax.
    I hate this, I am disenfranchised by it.
    (how can I complain about how my tax is spent if I don’t pay any)
    I want to pay tax, I want to pay tax to help provide safe housing for people who live on the streets so they don’t have to feel humiliated asking me for money

    I want to pay more tax to pay for my use of hospitals and libraries (do they still exist)

  4. Monica says:

    Let’s just hope that the network of buskers doesn’t get on some algorithm and start playing back to you everything you want to hear.
    Give bananas! Hard to debate the need for food.

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