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Busker: Give A Street Musician An Octopus, And He’ll Eat For A Month

August 22, 2013

Back in the 90s, I did a comic strip about a little street musician named Busker. You
can read more about the strip in this previous post.

Most of Busker’s adventures took place on a street corner, but sometimes he ranged further afield.

I got the idea for this strip after reading about how fans throw octopi onto the ice at hockey games. Here, they take it a step or two further, but that’s OK with Busker.

street musician Busker with saxophone walks past sign saying musician needed to play national anthem at hockey rink

street musician Busker playing national anthem at hockey game, someone throws fish onto ice

street musician Busker playing national anthem at hockey game, fans throw more fish onto ice

street musician Busker playing national anthem at hockey game, fans throw fish, octopus, swordfish, lobster, shark, penguin, jelly fish onto ice

street musician Busker walking off hockey rink ice pulling wagon filled with fish, he's hungry reading book of seafood recipes

Busker goes back to my pre-computer days. The strips usually ran 5-6 panels, but the feature was always published as a large single panel with two rows. Here’s what the original looked like in all its hand-drawn, hand-lettered glory.

I count 8 different kinds of “seafood” in the wagon: fish, swordfish, shark, seal, lobster, octopus, jelly fish, penguin. Which explains why I never order the deluxe fisherman’s platter in restaurants… : P

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Have you ever thrown an octopus at a hockey game?

How about at the opera or the ballet?

Ever wished you had an octopus so you could throw it??

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Other Posts You Might Enjoy:BlankVertSpace.8pixels

Busker’s Christmas Carol: Miser Beware!

April Fool! Is That Any Way To Treat A Street Musician??

Dave Clark 5: Honest To Gosh Singing Caricatures

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31 Comments leave one →
  1. August 22, 2013 2:28 PM

    It took me a few minutes to get a grip of myself and write!
    Poor Busker!!!! …but then he’s clever enough to take advantage of the situation. Love him!
    Hmmm, I think I’ll follow your advice on the deluxe platter!
    As always, my friend – so very well done!


    • August 23, 2013 2:50 PM

      You mean you had to compose yourself before you composed your comment?? Ha!! These wonderful telegrams from Greece always make my day– thank you, my dear Marina!

      Yes, beware the deluxe fish platter!! There’s something fishy about it, and that’s putting it mildly. I’d recommend a nice Greek salad, with at most a shrimp or two on the side… : )

      Always a delight and an honor to hear from the Mediterranean’s most exalted painter!! : )


      • August 23, 2013 5:05 PM

        yes, and to make it more complete you may add “the composer who had to compose herself to compose a comment!” There!
        Always a delight visiting. I enjoy your work, my friend, as you already know!!


        • August 23, 2013 5:24 PM

          Yow! That’s right, you’re a music composer as well– ka-BOING!! You have just scored a rare triple– incredible!! Well done, my friend, and thanks for sharing that brilliant quip! : )


        • August 23, 2013 5:50 PM

          …it took me all this time to re compose myself!!!!
          Thank you for brightening up my …night!


  2. August 22, 2013 2:56 PM

    It’s always a delight reading your escapades in the world of illustration, good job Mark!
    Much love. 🙂


    • August 23, 2013 2:53 PM

      And it’s always a delight hearing from you, dear Seyi. You are always building other people up, and I count myself lucky to be in your orbit.

      Thank you so much for your kindness and support! : )


  3. Mia Moravis permalink
    August 22, 2013 4:20 PM

    Love, love, love this – laughed LOUD!
    ~ Mia


    • August 23, 2013 3:12 PM

      Thank you, my dear Mia! You and your laugh help sustain me, the arts community, and the world– thank you for taking on these worthy causes!! : )


  4. August 22, 2013 7:57 PM

    I find swordfish, lobster, octopus, and milder varieties of fish delicious. I am not sure about seal, jellyfish, or penguin, though. I’m going to bet penguin is stringy, like wild duck.


    • August 23, 2013 3:20 PM

      Ha! Thanks, Jak. I’m a big seafood lover myself, tho I’ve never seen seal, jellyfish, or penguin on a menu. If I do see them on a menu, I’m going to disguise myself as a potted palm, and edge toward the door as fast as I can!!

      Happy dining, and thanks as ever for stopping by! : )


  5. August 22, 2013 9:23 PM

    How bizarre! Octopi throwing on ice? I wonder who thought of such a thing? I like Busker’s attitude, grab a cookbook and cook up a storm!


    • August 23, 2013 3:51 PM

      Bizarre is right, Jen– no, make that beyond bizarre! I’ve never been to a hockey game, and I find myself wondering how people get these octopi into the arena. Do they carry them in in coolers? Smuggle them in under their coats?? One of the great mysteries, Jen– along with why does the bread always fall butter-side down, and what do kangaroos keep in their pockets?? : )

      I definitely prefer owls to octopi, and I definitely love your comments– thank you, Master Crafter Of The Land Down Under!! : )


  6. August 23, 2013 12:10 AM

    I have never seen an octopus in real life 🙂 But I think Busker is real cute 🙂


    • August 23, 2013 4:02 PM

      I’ve never seen an octopus in real life either, Malvika– but if it ever happens when I’m swimming, I expect to set a new speed record, and wind up in the Olympics!! : )

      I did try some calamari (deep-fried squid) in a restaurant once. Tasted a lot like scallops, I thought. Yes, I can be pretty brave on occasion… : P

      Always nice to see your smiling face, and Busker says he thinks you’re cute, too! : )


  7. Lily permalink
    August 23, 2013 5:33 PM

    Busker really is quite adorable!

    And thank you for now making me want to try throwing an octopus – I’m a little curious, I wonder what it’s like!! 😛


    • August 26, 2013 8:21 AM

      Ha! You made me laugh with that one, Lily! I have this image of you twirling an octopus like a lasso above your head, and letting it fly! It would be just like you to set a new world’s record for Octopus Tossing, and wind up in the Olympics… : )

      Many thanks for your kind comment, and, as always, it’s lovely to see you. : )


  8. August 24, 2013 9:56 AM

    as a fan of yours I love your comic and it helps resolve a problem I have with the whole concept. As an animal lover, I have a problem with throwing the octupi on ice (I thought it was a fish at a UNH game I went to once) I mean an animal died for that! Not fair people. Glad Busker (and you) gave more dignity to the critter and the critters lives were used to sustain another life (circle of life). I am being WAY TOO SERIOUS I know, I went to that game over a decade ago and just started forgetting seeing fish flung, and well now it’s back in my head. Hope it’s been banned since then.


    • August 26, 2013 9:09 AM

      Thanks for your comment, Alison, and you certainly raise a worthy point.

      I did some online research, and it appears hockey fans have expanded octopus tossing over the years to include lobsters, catfish, and even small sharks– it all seems to depend on who’s playing (team name or affiliation). Most of the thrown objects are purchased at seafood markets, and were destined to wind up on someone’s dinner table; in other words, the animals were already dead (frozen), and were not killed just for “sport,” so to speak. Hockey officials have made sporadic attempts to ban the practice; people have been fined and ejected from games for throwing objects onto the ice. However, enforcement has not been consistent, and the “tradition” continues at many games.

      I’m not a hockey fan, have never been to a game, and throwing octopi is certainly not my cup of, uh, sardine juice. It is, however, something that cries out for parody, and that’s the sort of thing that does appeal to me! : )

      Always nice to see you, and thanks for offering your thoughtful take on the subject matter.


  9. August 24, 2013 12:31 PM

    This is hysterical, Mark. I loved both the drawings and the joke. #4 was just over-the-top funny. Busker is shrewd. He got paid … and he now has dinner for a LONG while. 😆


    • September 5, 2013 1:26 PM

      Hmm… I’ve heard some fish stories, but that was ridiculous…

      But in a good way, I mean… : )

      Yes, it’s always good to get a free meal or five, even if you have to go home smelling funny. Thank you, my dear Judy! Glad you found it finny. Er, funny. : )


  10. August 24, 2013 10:59 PM

    It took me for awhile to get your point. Now I can’t help myself to laugh…hahahhahahaahaa!

    Clever busker! Very inspiring! LOL

    I’ve never been to any hockey game nor opera nor ballet. There was a time when I had a big octopus from a supermarket and wanted to cook it but then I throw it because its look had put me off! LOL


    • September 5, 2013 1:35 PM

      Ha! Thank you, my dear Inge– very glad you enjoyed old Busker and his big seafood adventure!

      Your story about the supermarket octopus made me laugh. I could almost see it in cartoon form: you bring it home, put it on the counter, then it watches you while you get out a baking dish, leaf thru your recipe book, etc. Finally it’s making you so nervous, you throw it out the window and make a peanut butter sandwich for dinner!

      Always great to see you, thanks so much for your cheery comment! : )


      • September 5, 2013 8:45 PM

        You are very most welcome, Mark!

        Love it very much to read your imagination and it made me laugh even more! How could you guess it like that? Are you a mind reader?! ahahahahahahahaa!

        Honestly I couldn’t eat it at all because it kept staring at me. It ended up in a bin instead of my plate, lol


  11. August 26, 2013 11:30 AM

    Hi there,
    Busker is a winner who needs a street corner far away from the hockey fan madness. You have probably guessed that I’m no hockey fan. I have no fond feelings for anyone hucking octopi or any other animals living or dead onto the ice but I did enjoy your illustrations.


    • September 5, 2013 11:52 AM

      It takes a brave Canadian to say she’s no hockey fan, but of course your fearlessness is well known… : )

      I’m no hockey fan, either. In fact, I’ve lost interest in most sports (and I never thought I’d say that about baseball). The money and the drugs and the player bad example are all part of it, but so is fan behavior. We have too much rudeness and boorishness in modern society as it is; many fans of pro sports seem to revel in it. There’s something going on there, and it’s clearly not a healthy love of the game.

      Always great to hear from you, TT, thanks for supporting cartoon street musicians! : )


  12. September 10, 2013 1:10 PM

    Good old Busker. Now a grand feasting will be at hand for a long time. Wonder what kind of dishes he came out with : p

    I wouldn’t throw an octopus at anyone, but if I got given one I’d go straight to my mum to request for octopus curry to be made!

    Definitely a great giggle 🙂


    • September 16, 2013 1:09 PM

      Ha! Now that you mention it, it would be interesting to know what fantastical seafood meals ol’ Busker conjured up! I imagine he eats fish and chips a lot, which means he’d have extensive seafood experience… : )

      Octopus curry!! Now there’s a concept! Is there such a thing?? I shall have to make some discreet inquiries… : )

      Thank you, my dear Sabine, for that smile-filled comment!!



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