Monday, February 16, 2009

Busker World Festival Christchurch, New Zealand

23rd-24th Jan

Once I had booked into Base for 2 nights and done some internet time at the library I was ready for a nice relaxing weekend in Christchurch which was holding the world busker festival that week.

Myself and Brecht headed to one of the main venues for the performers – the Arts Centre where we paid a $2 cover charge to get in. By the time we got there the first couple of acts had already finished but we were just in time to see another act start – the goldfish bowl man!

The goldfish bowl man did a quite funny performance involving juggling, balancing and unicycling. He got various members of the audience to help him out with his act.

His final trick was to flip a plastic goldfish from his feet into a bowl on his head – while on a unicycle – which he performed at the second attempt.

The next act was an American woman who hula hoped. Although she was very good at what she did she did not really get the audience going with her chat and tricks. I think there is only so much you can do with hula hoops – even if you are able to twirl 70 hula hoops.

The last act was the most spectacular and consisted of two guys and a girl – all from Canada – doing acrobatics using a ‘Russian pole’ - basically a large beam the two fellas used to fling the girl up in the air so she could do acrobatic tumbles. After some tumbling one of the guys did a juggling routine which included doing 5 batons at once – something the fish man was unable to do. They finished off with a finale of another acrobatic tumble.

All in all a nice change from the usual and we thought for only $2 until the show finished and they all came round with buckets to try to gleam more money out of everybody. They were all buskers after all.

The busking show finished at about 8:30 which meant that for a Friday night it was still pretty early and I needed more entertainment (drink).

So we headed out looking for a band and found one in the local Irish bar of O’Sullivans. Here we seen an Irish band called ‘Black Velvet Band’ who did a really good set of Irish music interspersed with some country (yuck) and rock music. Brecht ended up buying one of their cd’s. I resisted the temptation – especially when I seen that they had only actually performed 1 song of the cd – the one from OH Brother where Art thou. Still it was a good performance which had a lot of Kiwis and other drunk people up on the rather small dance floor. I was too busy drinking to bother with that!

Things I have Learnt:
Not everybody immediately associates Celtic football club with Ireland. I had to explain to Brecht that even though Celtic were in fact a Scottish team that quite a lot of Irish people supported them and that was why they had a Celtic top displayed amongst the memorabilia in the pub. I said that because all the actual Irish teams were crap that they had to support one team that was at least partly successful. To be honest I think it’s a bit daft myself but then I support an English team myself because all the Irish League teams are shite.

On Saturday I had to sort out what I was doing about the rest of my time in New Zealand. During my volunteer time I had decided on 2 things:

1. I needed more time in New Zealand in order to do everything I could and
2. I needed to hire a car rather than go on one of the buses. This would give me more freedom to go where I wanted to in the time available.

As far as the buses were concerned my mind was made up on Friday when I seen upwards of 40 people get out of a KIWI bus and queue up to book into the Base Hostel. It looked like a conveyor belt – not my scene at all.

When I phoned the Quantas office I got some good news and some bad news. The good news was I was able to extend my time in New Zealand – by just over 1 week. The bad news was that I also wanted to extend my time in South America but unfortunately because of problems between BA and Iberia airlines I was not able to do it – so I am definitely back in April (god help you all!)(

For the second task I managed to hunt down a car company which would hire a small car to me for $25 a day – I would pick it up at noon the following day.

Once I had accomplished all that I went to join Brecht who had been watching some more of the busker entertainment out at the park round the corner.

I arrived just in time to see Bendy Em do her routine. Bendy Em turned out to be A contortionist. It made a change from all the juggling. Her pieste de resistance was placing herself into a 18inch box after which she sent round the money bucket at which time we legged it!

That night we went to another busker session – this time it was more of an adult theme.

The first act was the Rubber Band Man (where do they come up with these names!) Basically he was a comedian who put lots of rubber bands on his face as part of his routine. He was actually quite funny – I am not painting a very good picture (No photos I am afraid as the hall was too big – didn’t have my camera with me anyway!)

Two Jokes he told (which you have probably heard)

A blond is standing at the side of a river when she sees another blond across on the other side. She shouts over to her. ‘Excuse me can you tell me how I can get to the other side of the river?’ The other blond looks up and down the river then says: ‘You are on the other side!’ Well I laughed!

Two pregnant women are sitting knitting outfits for their future kids. One says ‘I hope my baby is a boy because I am knitting my outfit in blue’ The other one says ‘I hope my baby is spastic because I have fucked up the arms!’ Hey he said it not me – come back!!!

The next act was very weird – A Japanese clown who used a duck quacker to make sounds. Again he did a lot of physical comical work some of which was very skilful – like standing on 3 chairs balanced one on another.

The next two acts were simply stand up comics – one a famous Kiwi who talked so fast I couldn’t understand hardly anything he said. I thought it was just me until I talked to some other Kiwis who couldn’t understand him either. The next act was better – an Aussi from Adelaide. Can’t remember any of his jokes probably because of the last act who turned out to be a sword swallower. The swallowing of swords I could handle it was the last thing he did for his act that was a bit much to take. He pulled the host on a skateboard using nothing but fishing line with the hooks attached to the inside of his eyelids! YUCK!

After the sword swallower the show ended and the money buckets came out – that was our cue to leave! We ended up back in O’Sullivans bar where the Same band was doing much the same routine as the previous night – except that it was full of even drunker people – most of which, like us, had come from the busker venue just up the road.

Busker Pics

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