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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

What the Japanese Metro can learn from the Tube

Toyko delegates coming to learn about......

How to keep a happy and strike free work force? How to ensure your subway system is the most expensive in the world? How to keep one of your lines in its own time zone - eg the Northern Line? How to stop people from spoofing your maps?

Well no. A team of delegates from Toyko are coming to London to learn about busking! Yay, London Underground have found something that they think the Japanese can learn from. "Six Tokyo Metro delegates, including Fusao Koike, Deputy Manager of International Affairs, will join senior LU officials on 1 March for a day-long visit of the Underground network, when they will get the opportunity to learn about the implementation and running of the scheme, and to discuss it with real life LU buskers."

Busker at Piccadilly Circus


The guy in charge of the Tube's busking scheme, Steve Charlick said of the visit: "We feel truly honoured that they have chosen our scheme on which to base their own."

"The London Underground busking scheme sponsored by Carling began in May 2003, after LU managed to change the laws and the bylaws to make busking legal on the Underground.

"The scheme has gone from strength to strength, and we now have nearly 300 licensed buskers providing passengers with over 3,360 hours of entertainment each week." Read the full story here.

Let's hope that on Wednesday the buskers polish their guitars, violins, didgerdoos and boom boxes and get out their best collection of songs.

Speaking of buskers you can check out one of the first "legalised buskers" who was interviewed on Radio 4 a couple of weeks ago. "When London Underground organized and formalized the tube busking situation in the early new millennium, Stephen was encouraged to take part in the TfL initiative and, figuring that almost all of his Blues heroes had used busking as an organic marketing and promotion tool, he enthusiastically took up the reins and the chance to broaden the Blues appeal to a much wider potential audience." from Stephen Dale Petit's website Guitararama. Thanks to Ian for telling me about this.

Perhaps now that Toyko are interested in busking we'll have buskers going on world tours as well as selling CDs and doing promotions for film companies!


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