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Monday, June 26, 2006

District Line Buskers

"Thank you Turnham Green you've been a wonderful audience"

If you've been "lucky" enough to travel regularly on the District Line, I would be surprised if you had not come across the infamous "If you can't have a shave in the toilet, where can you have a shave" buskers. They've been doing the rounds on the District Line, since the early 80's but in all of that time, they only seem to have two songs in their reportoire.

If you can't have a shave in the toilet buskers

The first is the aforementioned shaving song, which is a protest song, lamenting the times when they used to shave in public toilets (mainly in the one that used to be in the underpass at Hammersmith Broadway). But they were always asked to move on, when all they wanted to do was keep themselves "clean and respectabull".

The second is their classic "This train is going to Richmond, this train. This train is stopping at Earl's Court, this train. This train is going to Richmond, change at Gunnersbury for the North London Line. This train is going to Richmond, this train". Alternatively if you catch them going into town you'll catch the B side "This train is going to Barking, this train, etc etc".

I finally managed to make a recording of the Toilet Song, which apparently isn't available in the shops, or on the internet (let's hope they don't read this blog). They were playing to a fairly relaxed carriage on Friday night and it was the first time, I'd ever heard them get a round of applause.

They did very well in this carriage with a fair number of coins (but not "cheques, luncheon vouchers or Indian rupees" which they also accept) going into their omelette collecting pan. They even managed to sell a copy of the Toilet Song CD for four quid.

The Shaving Buskers pictured in Winter ClothesSo if you've never heard them before click on this link and enjoy! You'll never see them on the official Carling Busker circuit, as I imagine a two song repertoire wouldn't be enough to get them through the London Underground auditions or "Busking Idol".

However, I wouldn't have thought they were too sad about it. I've never heard of any Tube ones that have been "discovered" or made it big, but a number of them apparently get paid by record companies to "demo" or play certain tracks, as it's cheap way of getting songs heard by millions of commuters.

Do you have a favourite busker on the Tube? Or have you ever bought one of the CD's that a number of buskers are producing now?


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