February 3, 2010

Watching the Buskers

I did my weekly morning shift as Cathedral guardian last Saturday. I was not my usual self cos I was tired and sleep-deprived, yawning every 5 to 10 minutes, smiling groggily at visitors and giving wrong information about the Cathedral. "How old is the Cathedral? and what kind of wood is the ceiling made of?" asked one Brit lady. "124 years, I think. No, no,..it's 125...Emm..the ceiling? made of timber, I think" I answered unconvincingly. The lady thanked me and slowly walked towards a group of  senior citizens who came from the Diamond cruise ship. I overheard her saying "Very old indeed, 125 years...Victorian Gothic bla bla bla..." O-O! She quoted me? OMG. I had a sinking feeling my answer was wrong. So I quickly searched for George, the senior guide who was paired with me that day. He told me it's 129 years. Great! Now I have to  find the old lady and tell her it's 129. 1-2-9 Why couldn't I remember that? I searched high and low but the Brit lady was nowhere to be found. It was too late. Because of me, a bunch of people from the Diamond cruise ship have the wrong facts about Christchurch cathedral.

I didn't tell George about this incident (of course) and sort of shrugged the guilt off my conscience. No use crying over spilt milk right? I decided to spare innocent people from being misinformed again so I went outside for a little fresh air. Outside, it was a whole different atmosphere. There were heaps of people in the square sitting, standing and waiting for some kind of grand performance. I wondered what the commotion was all about. As I wandered further, I saw a banner that said: World Buskers Festival, January 2010. So, this is how a Busker Festival look like, I thought to myself. Stalls were set up everywhere selling all sorts of stuff like beaded accessories, caps, T-shirts and souvenirs (which were typically overpriced). I saw jugglers, a man on  a unicycle and clown-like performers getting ready for their act. It was like a street circus to me.

For your information, the World Buskers Festival is the most loved festival in Christchurch. Every year, artists from Canada, USA, Brazil, Portugal, Japan, Italy, Netherlands, UK, Australia and local ones perform for the public in various locations across the city - FOC.  These performers don't get paid and they make a living from the donations  they get. Therefore, each busker needs to be really funny and entertaining in order to charm the crowd. At least charming enough to get some donations for the entertainment.

The Collector was the first show I witnessed.  It was performed by a Brit guy who impressed the crowd with his comic antics. His performance was more oriented for children as it included  a lot of games, water balloons and stunts with slips and slides.  For this act, he recruited a little boy from the audience to shoot him with a water gun, which then gave him the reason to run around like a psychopath in an effort to dodge the water-bullets. Idiotic but hilariously entertaining! The climax of his performance was when he stripped down to his red underwear and slid head first on a wet kiddies pool. Everyone cheered and applauded. The crowd obviously loved him. 

The second show was  Acrobuffos: Waterbombs! The performers are real-life husband and wife who are both street performers, jugglers, mask-players and clowns. A dynamic duo. They presented a really amusing street theatre which invoved lots and lots of water bombs and comic antics, all set to loud opera music. They were hillarious! Other acts were performing at Cathedral Square but I didn't get to witness all of them. After the second show, I saw George coming out of the cathedral, searching for me. That was the end of my break. I went inside and resume my shift, more alert and attentive this time. Hehe.

I was really happy to be at the festival at just the right time. I just wish I could have stayed for the entire day so I could have caught all of the performances. Perhaps next time :)

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