IN my holiday season travels, I believe I have discovered the country's worst busker.

It would be uncharitable of me to name the exact location where this guy plies his trade. I mean, obviously he has a mother who has lied to him about his singing ability, so I don't want to go tipping over that particular apple cart and causing a family drama.

There's also the fact I want to keep it under wraps just in case we end up with a New Zealand's Worst Busker reality show on telly and he needs an agent. Don't laugh. We've had The Bachelor and Married At First Sight on the box already, so who knows what could be next.

In all honesty, I think this guy knows he's bad. It seems to me he's making a bit of money out of the fact.

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I like that. It appeals to my London "fell-off-the-back-of-a-lorry" roots.

If the truth be known I've enjoyed my own success from time to time in a bit of spare cash building.

As a young journalist in a town by the sea I stumbled across a story involving Russian sailors.

A sidebar conversation led to the suggestion they could not get enough of adult magazines, or at least they couldn't back in the day.

Naturally my entrepreneurial brain kicked into overdrive and, outside of work, I busied myself collecting secondhand adult magazines from a variety of sources. I filled up my car with the said publications and drove to the Russian boats at the quayside where I sold them all individually for a tidy sum.

Unfortunately, the scheme fell apart when a Russian sailor who had missed out on the initial delivery turned up at my workplace, banged on the front counter when he was getting no joy from the receptionist and yelled, in his best broken English, "I vant dirty book!".

Needless to say a low profile was required around the newsroom for a while.
Another time, in the middle of a London summer, I took a wrong turn in a department store and happened across a closed back room where a manager of some sorts was sorting out a knockdown price for a rack of 10 ski suits that hadn't been snapped up in winter.

One thing led to another and I bought the lot for 10 pounds each, got my cousin to pick them up an hour later in his van and sold them for 80 pounds each that night at the three pubs we visited.

It basically paid for my trip.

Anyway, back to the busker.

So he's playing outside a little cafe which is right next to a busy bakery. And he's shocking.

Think a combination of nails on the blackboard (do they still have blackboards at school?), screeching cats at midnight and that noise a drunk girl makes before she bursts into tears and tells all her mates she loves them.

Inside the bakery people standing in the queue for their mince pies are wincing as the high notes are not so much hit as mutilated.

And the bakery owner has noticed too.

Business has been affected, she says.

They have to work really fast so people don't queue too long.

As she explains another high note is run through the mangle.

Behind me a lady decides the salad roll she wanted to pay for isn't worth it. She puts it back and scarpers.

The bakery owner shrugs her shoulders. There's little they can do. They've spoken to the council. The busker has the permission of the cafe owner.

I'm picking the owner doesn't work on site. He certainly doesn't have any chairs outside. And his patrons are all inside, presumably behind soundproof glazing.

"But how do you cope at lunchtime when you've got a crowd in," I ask the bakery owner. "Surely this must hurt business".

She beams. They've got a plan for that time of the day. And it turns out the busker is doing all right out of it.

"We give him $20 not to sing," she says.

Kevin Page is a teller of tall tales with a firm belief that laughter helps avoid frown lines. Your own tales and feedback are welcome on kevin.page@nzme.co.nz