The Lilac Pilgrim – Yet Another Blog

Brother, Can You Spare A Mime?

Posted on: November 6, 2010

In Glasgow nowadays, it’s common to walk down any street in the city centre and be faced by THE END IN NIGH wonkily splattered onto sandwich boards. You can walk down (or up, if you prefer) any busy street and have abuse hurled at you by people who pay to rent a space in the middle of town for the sole purpose of preaching the same old nonsense. Better yet, each street preacher is almost an exact carbon copy of the last. You can always predict what they’re going to say and what tactics they’re going to use. Now, I could go into detail about the guilt-trips they try to put regular people on so that they get more of those people to listen. I could moan about how annoying it is to be faced with one of these shouting at the top of their lungs about how wrong it is to lie/steal/be gay. I could talk about why they are evil for trying to trick innocent passersby into feeling guilty for being human. Despite all of the above being true, I’m not annoyed about that so much right now. No, I’m more upset at they way they hoard perfectly good spaces from street performers.

I’ve always liked street performers. When I was little I would see them all the time, and not necessarily just confined to the busy city centre. You might, if you were lucky, have seen them in your local park; jugglers, firebreathers, living statues, mimes. Visiting Amsterdam a few years ago, it was so very difficult not to shriek with glee and chase after the mime who was terrorising the locals. Likewise, a couple of years back, I remember grinning widely as I passed by a group of living statues on a break, eating crisps. If I hadn’t been busy I would have waited to watch them all day; they were simply amazing. And of course, you find plenty of such performers in Edinburgh. It’s incredibly frustrating that such art forms are being steadily overtaken by preachers, shouting at people to repent OR ELSE!

Before anyone who happens to live in the city says it, yes, I’m aware of the people and their accordions and the guitarists who wail their own renditions of such classics as Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door and, er, Yellow, and yes I know that there are occasionally good musicians on the street, and that’s nice. And yes, I’ve seen the breakdancers that show up every half a year or so, and the other occasional awesome performers. But there’s the problem; these things are only occasional and are being driven out by protests by PeTA and religious nuts who want to shout at you all day.

If you’re out there, street performers, please come back. Whether for the art or as buskers, people really do appreciate you guys. There are certain types of performance art that are slowly dying off. Bring them back to us! Take to the streets of Glasgow and dazzle us with your mime, your magic, your music. Enough of this guilt-trippy, shouty, religious nonsense.

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  • HoistTheColours: Dear author, I full-heartedly and absolutely agree with your above statements. I just thought I would let you know, since I don't quite understand w
  • richclark: I covered this in my blog too. Found your post on one of Wordpress' random (associated posts). Has Ask really made the impact it needed to from
  • The Lilac Pilgrim: I couldn't go anywhere without someone mentioning it. It was incredibly obvious and yet people were still arguing about it. Absolutely ridiculous.
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