This episode is proudly sponsored by Dolphin Creative – a company who is proud to support street theatre and all of the incredible characters who make up this world. Where ever you perform: Dolphin Creative salutes you! For more information please visit DolphinCreative.org – Huge thanks to Stuart and his team for sponsoring this episode and six more to come
- Interview by: Guy Collins
- Interviewee: Silver (Graham Scott)
- Original Recording Date: March 27, 2015
- Date: Aired: September 15, 2015
- Location: Recorded in Kim Potter in Guy Collin’s hotel room at the Hotel Ibis Al Barsha, Dubai. Located just south of the Emirates indoor ski mall and short death-sprint north of the finest $2.00 curry house in Dubai.
- Mixed and edited by: Kim Potter, Magic Brian and David Aiken for The Busker Hall of Fame
Comments: Necessity is, as they say, the mother of invention and this was certainly the case when Graham Scott, AKA Silver. In his own words –
Back in 1975 the fashion on the dance floor was doing the ‘Robot’ dance, at 12 I found myself holding my own and basically didn’t stop moving, albeit in the kitchen and my bedroom. It wasn’t until I was 22, after work I saw on the Mound in Edinburgh, during the festival a guy doing a robot act with a massive crowd and my first thoughts were, he was shite. Two months later, on a Friday night, I found myself in my flat without any cigarettes and food (in that order). Desperate, it was then I decided to go and busk on the Saturday night. I went and busked outside a busy pub! (Probably the first rule in the busker’s handbook, one place never ever to busk.) After three songs with it being Scotland, it started to rain but within three songs I had made £15 and was asked to dance in a club on the Sunday for £20. As they say, the rest is history.
Guy Collins sat down with Silver at 9:30 am on Day Nine of the Dubai Marina Street Festival, while Kim Potter recorded the conversation, and tried to capture a bit more of the thirty plus years of history that Silver has accumulated working street pitches across Europe.
Bonus Images from Silver’s Archives with commentary by Silver:
The Odd Couple, circa 1986. At the beginning I was isolated, no outside influences, I didn’t really have a clue but I was making good money and basically didn’t give a shit. No costume, my gloves were so bad I had to wear two pairs. Even doing this, I ended up in a winning photograph that was part of an exhibition that toured the U.K. There was no stopping me.
Being on my own, apart from the homeless alcoholic who put on a red nose and played the accordion, I got things going. This was/is my pitch in Edinburgh. After nearly 30 years on the same spot on and off, I now have mothers who are 30 pushing prams coming up to me to say, ‘When I was small I used to be scared of you.’
As time went by I got better. I went to Amsterdam in 1987 with five friends for a week as young dudes do. I made double the cash I did in Edinburgh so, to the shock of my girlfriend of four years, I went back a fortnight later and didn’t come back till the next Edinburgh festival.
Over the years, the setting up and pissing about took over until the robot show became more about pissing about and having a laugh. These days doing ‘a good show’ seems to mean – I finished my shit and THE HAT WAS GOOD. I still prefer the days when ‘a good show’ meant I did some new stuff, or it went pear shaped but I brought it back, or a crazy drunk lady came out and she was funny.
Nobody takes risks these days. Where it should be all about the show and being funny and good, now it’s all about finishing up on something high and getting a good hat. Where as 25-30 years ago a good show was exactly that a good show. Not now, doesn’t matter how shit your show went, if you got a good hat, thats now classed as ‘a good show.’
Wellington Arts Festival, 1992, Nick Nickolas and I adjusting each other’s ties. The opera that night: John the Baptist, the venue had a capacity of 2000 spectators and there were only two (Nick and I) that wore evening suits in plain view of the 2nd balcony rows above us – CLASSIC!
I never really traveled with any one, too busy doing my own thing, but I did travel with Livingspace. We both shared a strong love for when the summer of ‘88 exploded, a love of music, and not playing by the rules, we both didn’t treat it as a business, where as everybody would be on the pitch complaining; not enough people, to quiet, it’s not the right time… Tony and I called ourselves the Martini Brothers and our slogan was ANY TIME – ANY PALCE – ANY WHERE! We never bought into going to Halifax, Edmonton, Montreal and all the other ones. We concentrated on getting to know people and ended up staying up going to Finland, Norway, Italy or in my case, St Croix, the home of the automate. Tony still remains one of my best friends 25 years later.
WHAT DID YOU BRING TO STREET THEATRE?
My answer is: A line that is being used all over the world: “THIS IS NOT TELEVISION, I CAN COME OUT AND TOUCH YOU, THIS IS REAL, IT’S NOT ON YOU TUBE BUT IT MIGHT BE TOMORROW” then I would run round the first edge of my show and give everyone a high five. That didn’t catch on but shouting to the audience that this was live and not a recording to wake up people was mine. Not to mention being 100% original.
And thanks again to: Dolphin Creative for sponsoring this episode!
Find out more about Sponsoring this Podcast by emailing cbg@BuskerHallofFame.com