Richard’s Music Journey: Busking in Sydney is Enjoyable but Tough

 

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Richard performed on Pitt St Mall. Photoed by Qian Lu

It was 6:00pm on a Saturday, Richard was busking on Pitt St Mall surrounded with crowded audiences.

Richard Soward, also named Cuzn, is a singer and songwriter from South England, based in Sydney.

Busking life

“I have been busking for about seven years, I started busking in London, on the London Underground Network.”

Richard said “I choose to busk because it’s a really good way to gain new fans, to perfect your performance, and a really good way to not have to get a real job and earn money.”

London Underground
Richard performed in on the London Underground. Photo from Cuzn

Richard have busked in many countries and cities including London and Wales in England, Toronto and Montreal in Canada, New York City in America, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Newcastle in Australia. Before coming to Sydney, Richard regarded busking as an interests, “I can go to a city and visit there while making new fans and making shows on the street, it’s awesome” he said.

Richard came to Sydney a year and a half ago, “Because I want to change, I was in London for many years, that was fun, but it was tiring and I began to get bad habit, I need change, so I came here, under the sunshine”he said. He treated busking as a career after he came to Sydney, “I really like busking in Sydney, for me it’s not really about the place, it’s about the area, there are lots of shopping centres that I can make shows, I can make moments with people, that’s what I like to do.” said Richard.

Sometimes Richard plays in a band with two close mate, Jamie Ray, playing the bass, and Lawrence Gratton, playing the violin. “They are awesome, but Lawrence went to Melbourne.” he said.

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Richard performed with Jamie and Lawrence. Photo from Cuzn.

 

Richard’s Fans

“Most of my fans are made from busking, and I got too much happiness from them.”

Richard usually plays on Pitt St Mall on weekends, everytime he plays, he will be surrounded with lots of people, some are big fans, some are just passers-by in the shopping mall, and they would become new fans.

“Sometimes there are kids running in my shows, and I remember a cute girl,” he said, “apparently, she was really a shy kid, and her mother bought a CD. The kid can never reads, but she can learn all the lyrics of my songs and surprises her mother by singing in the car with all the lyrics of my songs, which is really touching, really touching”.

cute girl
The cute girl. Photo from Cuzn.

“Recently I got a email from somebody who said during my show, she felt like nothing else in the world existed, and that’s awesome, that’s what I wanna do, that is what my life is filled, and I can do that to people.” Richard said with confidence and passion.

Richard’s EP

“London Prize recorded my feeling about London at that time, good and bad.”

Richard have released two EPs. The first one named London Prize, released in 2014 in London. There are two songs in it including London Prize and Transatlantic Tales.

London Pride
London Prize EP. Photo from Cunz.

The second EP is Little Victories, released in 2015 in Sydney. Six songs are recorded in it including Ordinary People, Monster Truck, We Believe, We Dream, Fire, Four Walls and Sympathy. It was inspired by years of crazy nights, cavorting and crashing on couches, he has learned a thing about life. From dingy London dungeons to high-class American apartments, via sumptuous Sydney sunshine, his handsomely-expressed acoustic sermons on love and life have acquired devastating resonance. “Because I think it is very important to celebrate the little victories. If you think about the end of prize, selling millions of records, you would get very upset. But when you sell hundreds of records, or sing a song you never heard before, and celebrate these little victories, it would be encouraging” Richard said.

To shoot the Music Video for Ordinary people, Richard ran around Sydeny CBD, with a film crew, getting people from all walks of life to hold up signs containing the lyrics to Ordinary People. “I do this because I like people, it was nice to change strangers to fans, to make them get involved. Particularly in the end of the video, you can see I got drunk with people, that was mad, and it was a really fun day, ” Richard said, “some people didn’t want to hold up the signs, then I said something to make them open and get involved, it was challenging, but rewarding.”

MV
Richard appeals people to engage in his MV. Photo from Cuzn.

About Busking Policy

In most parts of the Sydney CBD, including Martin Place, Town Hall, Pitt St Mall, and Hyde Park, busking is governed by the City of Sydney, while the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority controls busking at Circular Quay, Rocks and Darling Harbour.

According to Busking Policy  by City of Sydney, buskers need to apply for busking permits. Moreover, the area and time is restricted. Buskers could only busking in restricted area shown in the Busking Sites Maps.

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Busking Restricted Areas. Source: Busking Sites Maps (2011)

Time restrictions make it unfeasible for buskers as well . For example, Pitt St Mall is not permitted prior to 2 pm on weekdays and 11 am on weekends and buskers may only stay for an hour . Therefore, buskers should line up each morning at Pitt st Mall for an hour-long spot to play. Besides, maximum of 2 hours for standard busking and maximum of 8 hours for pavement art are allowed  at elsewhere except Pitt St Mall in the Sydney City.

“The policy makes it hard for us, absolutely, but if you obey it, it would be fine. Have a fight with policy is not cool, you don’t want that, kill you survive.” Richard said, “I have been also dealing with councils, you know, if you busk a lot, the council will restrict you a lot.”

“It’s so worthy for the good time,sun is not predictable, you can’t expect everything from busking, because it would be passed down for a week with rain, then you can’t perform, you can’t sell CDs and make money, it isn’t reliable, so don’t rely on busking forever.” said Richard.

A documentary of Richard, filmed in Sydney, shot and edited by Qian (Angela) Lu.

Qian LU  (Angela)

SID: 450429523

Word count:1071

 

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Self-realization: Sahaja Yoga meditation

Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi (Image source: http: //shrimataji.org/)

Sahaja Yoga meditation was founded by Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi who was internationally recognized for her contribution to humanity through a lifetime of work for peace and the wellbeing of mankind. It is the state of self-realization produced by Kundalini awakening and is accompanied by the experience of thoughtless awareness or mental silence. Shri Mataji charged no money, insisting that her lesson was a birthright which should be freely available to all. She advocates that there can be no peace in the world until there is peace within (Coney, 1999).

Kundalini (Image source: http://kundaliniproblems.com/kundalini_energy_what_is_it.htm)

Sahaja Yoga meditation started in India and England and there are now Sahaja Yoga meditation centres in almost 100 countries around the world. It has been introduced in Australia for 35 years. Hundreds of thousands of Australians have experienced the state of thoughtless awareness using the simple Sahaja Yoga meditation technique, which helps to reduce mental and emotional stress.

Story angle and interview:

My feature article aims to let the public know about what is Sahaja Yoga meditation and what benefits can get through doing daily meditation.

I will start the feature story by presenting the 35th years celebration of Sahaja Yoga meditation in Australia. The celebration will be held in 260 Liverpool Road, Ashfield, Sydney in 30th April. The theme of this celebration is “Meditation & Music”. I will make an interview with Richard Kennett who is the responsible person of this celebration.

Questions for Richard Kennett:

  • What is the aim of holding this celebration?
  • What are stories behind founding Sahaja Yoga meditation by Shri Mataji? And what is her aim?
  • Why it is free open to the public?

In the next part, I will focus on the Sahaja Yoga meditation class and its teaching content, benefits and effects on our daily life. I will participate in a local class in Mill Hill Community Centre, Bondi Junction in 10th May to experience what is meditation. Moreover, I will interview Clare Avoledo who is a instructor of the free class and participants.

Questions for Clare Avoledo:

  • Where does meditation centres raise money to maintain the normal operation of free class?
  • What is the aim of your centre? And what is the aim of meditation?
  • What is the characteristic of Sahaja Yoga meditation? And what are differences from other meditation?
  • What usually do during the class (the teaching content)? And can participants do meditation at home after this class?

Questions for participants:

  • What lead you to start meditation? And And What attract you to join in?
  • What is the most useful thing of the class? And does the class have any effect on your daily life?

There is an academic article that can be used as references to describe the function of Sahaja Yoga meditation, that is Effect of sahaja yoga meditation on quality of life, anxiety, and blood pressure control (Chung, Brooks, Rai, Balk & Rai, 2012) and there is an useful case study Influence of long-term sahaja yoga meditation practice on emotional processing in the brain: An ERP study (Reva, Pavlov, Loktev, Korenyok & Aftanas, 2014).

Target media and target audiences:

This feature story is about a kind of healthy lifestyle and it may fit the audience of Australian online publications such the Sydney Morning Herald or ABC news because they have the column about lifestyle, health and wellbeing. My target audience are people who are interested in meditation, who are under pressure from studies or works and who advocate a natural and healthy lifestyle.

 

Jing Yu

SID: 450083624

Word count: 585

 

References:

Coney, J. (1999). Sahaja yoga: Socializing processes in a south Asian new religious movement. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon.

Chung, S., Brooks, M. M., Rai, M., Balk, J. L., & Rai, S. (2012). Effect of sahaja yoga meditation on quality of life, anxiety, and blood pressure control. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (New York, N.Y.), 18(6), 589-596.

Reva, N. V., Pavlov, S. V., Loktev, K. V., Korenyok, V. V., & Aftanas, L. I. (2014). Influence of long-term sahaja yoga meditation practice on emotional processing in the brain: An ERP study. Neuroscience, 281, 195-201.

Busking in Sydney: It’s tougher than you think

 

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Busker Joseph Zarb performing in Martin Place, Sydney. Photo: Steven Siewert 

 

This is a proposal for a feature article about the Sydney buskers’ life under the restricted busking policy.

 

Busking in Sydney

Busking, also known as street performance, is the act of performing in public places to earn money. The common form of busking is singing or playing music. There are other forms as well, such as acrobatics, magic and pavement art. People engaging in this practice are called buskers.

In Sydney CBD, people can see buskers everywhere, especially at the Martin Place, Pitt st Mall, Town Hall, Circular Quay and Darling Harbour. Busking culture enrich the city as well.

Busking is more a job than a hobby for most buskers, and some of them become popular among Sydney such as Joseph Zarb, a guitarist playing at Martin Place, and Ky Baldwin, a 15-year-old singer and songwriter.

Policy of Busking

In most parts of the Sydney CBD, including Martin Place, Town Hall, Pitt st Mall, and Hyde Park, busking is governed by the City of Sydney Busking Policy, while the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority controls busking at Circular Quay, Rocks and Darling Harbour.

According to City of Sydney (2011), buskers need to apply for busking permits. Moreover, the area and time is restricted. Buskers could only busking in restricted area shown in the Busking Sites Maps.

QQ图片20160422124434
Busking Restricted Areas. Source: Busking Sites Maps (2011)

Time restrictions make it unfeasible for buskers as well . For example, Pitt st Mall is not permitted prior to 2pm on weekdays and 11am on weekends and buskers may only stay for an hour (ibid.). Therefore, buskers should line up each morning at Pitt st Mall for an hour-long spot to play. Besides, maximum of 2 hours for standard busking and maximum of 8 hours for pavement art are allowed  at elsewhere except Pitt st Mall in the Sydney City.

Research shows Buskers Embrace Busking Policy

A finding in 2015 by Luke McNamara, Professor of the University of New South Wales, and Julia Quilter, Associate Professor of Law at the University of Wollongong, suggests that most buskers accept busking laws as a legitimate part of the urban environment, and see some advantages in the rules (McNamara & Quilter, 2015).

Story Angel and Interviewees

The feature article is mainly to focus on the life of buskers in Sydney, why they choose to busking in Sydney, how the busking policy affect them and how they face to the busking policy.

Interviewees would be buskers in Sydney CBD listed as following.

1.CuzN Band: a busking group originally from South England but now based in Sydney, Australia. It consists of three people, they are Richard Soward, the lead vocal, guitar player and percussion, Jamie Ray, the bass player and Lawrence Gratton, the violin player. They usually busking at Pitt st Mall, which is the most time restricted place.

2.Maia Jelavic: a folk music singer and songwriter borned in Central Coast and now lived in Sydney. Maia could also play guitar, banjo and ukulele. She usually busking at Pitt st Mall as well.

Online Delivery

Photographs of buskers performing on the street need to be taken to enrich the feature article, videos of their performances are demanded as well. All of these documents can be shoot and edited by myself with my digital camera. It is important to ask for the interviewees’ consent to the portrait right and music copyright.

Target Audience and Online Publications

Target audience of the feature article are:

1.Citizens of Sydney who love or know busking culture.

2.Buskers in Sydney.

Therefore, target online publications of the feature article are some online platforms of mainstream publications with high circulations and targeting citizens such as:

1.Sydney Morning Herald (Life column).

2.The Daily Telegraph (Music column).

3.ABC News (Music column).

as well as :

Vice Australia: It is a print magazine and website focused on arts, culture, and news topics. The magazine was launched in 1994 and the website was founded in 1996. Vice now has 5.1 million and 17.2 thousand followers in Facebook and Twitter sites respectively.

 

Qian LU  (Angela)

SID: 450429523

Word count:666

 

References:

City of Sydney. (2011, July 11). Interim Busking Policy. Retrieved from http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0012/100281/Busking-policy-interim.pdf

Quilter, J. & McNamara, L. (2015). ‘Long may the buskers carry on busking’: Street music and the law in Melbourne and Sydney. Retrieved from http://law.unimelb.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/1774553/05-Quilter-and-McNamara.pdf