Melbourne Buskers: Music and Magic

There can be magic in the air when the music of a busker floats over  anonymous passers-by. It brings the human voice and the heart  of a musician into a city street, connecting us all in some sort of knowing way.  We might walk by and not look back.  Although we have had different days, thought different thoughts, lived different lives, and imagined we lived in a different bubble of life, buskers make us smile.  We are human.  We are a tribe.  Some of us stop to listen. Some of us stop to talk.  

Some of us stop worrying to be happy….

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On 16 October, I had the pleasure of hearing Rhys Crimmin perform.  He is a truly accomplished musician and singer.  He was busking in the Melbourne CBD at a prime stop for buskers: the corner of Bourke and Elizabeth Streets, in front of the old Post Office building.   I also photographed Olivia, who was working in the small ‘cafe’ just up the steps from where Rhys was playing.

Tony at the pedestrian underpass, Clifton Hill Station, April 2014


Wesley on a pavement in Carlton, Saturday 14 December 2013


“Any day now – I shall be released” by Bob Dylan

They say everything can be replaced,
That every distance is not near,
So I remember every face,
Of every man who’s put me here.
I see my light come shining,
From the west unto the east.
Any day now, any way now, I shall be released.
They say every man needs protection,
That every man must rise and fall.
Yet I swear I see my reflection,
Somewhere so high above this wall.


Yonder stands a man in this lonely crowd,
A man who swears he’s not to blame.
All day long I hear him shouting so loud,
He’s crying out that he was framed.

Any day now, any way now,
I shall be released

“Love Minus Zero, No Limit”, by Bob Dylan

My love she speaks like silence
Without ideals or violence
She doesn’t have to say she’s faithful
Yet she’s true, like ice, like fire
People carry roses
Make promises by the hours
My love she laughs like the flowers
Valentines can’t buy her

In the dime stores and bus stations
People talk of situations
Read books, repeat quotations
Draw conclusions on the wall
Some speak of the future
My love she speaks softly
She knows there’s no success like failure
And that failure’s no success at all

The cloak and dagger dangles
Madams light the candles
In ceremonies of the horsemen
Even the pawn must hold a grudge
Statues made of matchsticks
Crumble into one another
My love winks, she does not bother
She knows too much to argue or to judge

The bridge at midnight trembles
The country doctor rambles
Bankers’ nieces seek perfection
Expecting all the gifts that wise men bring
The wind howls like a hammer
The night blows cold and rainy
My love she’s like some raven
At my window with a broken wing

A Christmas song: Pray for Peace.

The recording below of Maddie, a young woman singing “Pray for Peace” in a street in suburban Melbourne, was recorded in December 2012.  (Unfortunately, there was no camera in my bag on the day, so I couldn’t take a photo of Maddie and her friends from a local singing school.)

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