The Street

There are lots of performers of all types in Mexico City. Mime artists. Human statues. Buskers. Acrobats. Weird and exotic dancers. Self lacerating metro acts. Harmonipan players. Sadly without monkeys. Organ griders should always have a monkey. And clowns, plenty of clowns. Some are good. Some are downright awful. The latter being the reason that buskers on the London Underground have to audition and obtain licenses. We could really do with a similar scheme on the Mexico City metro system.

Except a lot of the performers are as financially desperate as the music they play, and really need the pesos. Everyone’s gotta make a living. If they’d stop playing for a coin or two, I’d pay up more often though. Harsh, but true.

One Step Beyond


7 thoughts on “The Street

  1. Vato Loco says:

    It’s sad that the mafias control even the public performers.

    I knew a dude that plays guitar and sings really well, so one he tried singing in the metro is his daily commute to school, he thought that he could earn some pesos for lunch or something.

    He perfomed for like 2 days and then 1 strange fella approaching him and threatened him, asking him who he was paying his quota, and who had assigned him that route.

    My buddy refused to pay or respond, and then he was chased by 4 other strange persons out of the station.


    • To be honest, I hadn’t heard of this directly before. But I did rather imagine something like this would be operating. My suggestion to your friend….don’t bathe for a month, and run around a lot in the sun. The aroma should put anyone off chasing him. He could also offer to walk through the carriage that bit quicker once he’s reached 10 pesos….


  2. Kim G says:

    You didn’t mention the fire eaters at intersections.

    I hear the chemical they use for the fire eventually drives them insane.

    Tough way to make a living.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we have plenty of street performers in the summer months, but in winter, they vanish.


  3. Out here in Provincia, where foreigners either think its cute, or that they can actually earn a few pesos by playing without paying their union dues (or even having a work permit), the union reps (and union musicians) sometimes get called “mafias” as well… a word used in Mexico not necessarily to mean gangsters, but …uh… “work flow facilitators” (ok, and arm breakers).

    However, the hurdy-gurdy guys… I always thought they could be used as bill collectors. Tell em not to leave until the debtor ponies up.


  4. Work Flow Facilitators….like it!

    I guess you can equally work some pros into the cons of this type of organisation. I’d prefer a little regulations myself, with the consequences being financial rather than physical (and then probably financial once the medical bill arrives!) for the naughty miscreants who push their luck.


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