Thursday, July 31, 2008
BUMS ON SEATS
They keep turning up the volume of their in-store televisions whenever Andrew Oliver starts to play. The 54-year-old claims the younger generation do not like his selection of wartime hits like Love is the Sweetest Thing, which he plays on a guitar and penny whistle, and has posted a clip of his music on YouTube. But shopkeepers in Penzance, Cornwall, think he simply cannot sing. Managers at the town's Savoy Cinema turned up the volume on the promotional television in the foyer to stop him "entertaining" those queuing outside. Operations manager Gary Stevens did not even deny that was the reason for turning up the volume when he wrote to the busker, stating that the volume needed to be increased to counter the musician's sound. He said: "I can only suggest that maybe you would be able to busk either further down from the cinema to prevent a clash of the various sounds." The lifelong musician, who goes by the title of Ollie the Busker or Doc Mustard, said he was convinced shopkeepers were trying to move him on. He lamented: "Some shopkeepers were quite obnoxious. When I moved down the street from the cinema another shop turned up its television as well. "Another shopkeeper got a piece of A4 paper and wrote 'Go Away' on it and stood in the doorway displaying it. I thought that was quite childish." He claimed to be the victim of a generation gap. "The people who have driven me out are young people with no respect for others," he said. "But it is not just about age. If they can't appreciate a song like 'Love is the Sweetest Thing' it is a sad reflection of society today." Ollie the Busker realised the game was up when he started singing carols at Christmas - and someone called the police within 15 minutes.