Last year, Mike Wood (BASc 2003) performed at the World Buskers Festival in Christchurch, New Zealand, catching a catapulted cabbage on top of his head with a spiked motorcycle helmet. He has performed throughout Canada, and in countries such as Ireland, Belgium and Spain. Now an investment analyst in London, England, Wood is breaking into the city’s comedy scene.
Where did the idea for your act come from?
I put myself through university as a street performer. In the early days I was a juggler, and my partner and I would juggle five bowling balls between the two of us. It’s hard to start juggling five 10-pin bowling balls. The fifth bowling ball needed to come in from somewhere, so I built this little coffee table–sized catapult with a friend from engineering. When my juggling partner left, I had a delicious prop with which to experiment.
Why a cabbage?
A melon is too messy; an endive is too small and it flies like a badminton birdie. Lettuce explodes on impact. In the end, after destroying easily a dozen different vegetables, I settled on cabbage. It’s roughly spherical, it’s available everywhere, it’s cheap and it’s easy to spike.
How did you discover that you had this talent?
I think everybody has this talent, but not everybody has a catapult. It’s not particularly hard, I just thought of it first.
How much do you usually make in an evening?
Well, that’s something that street performers don’t like to discuss. It’s certainly enough to put gas in the Ferrari – let’s leave it at that.
I notice you use the term “street performer.” Is “busker” no longer fashionable? Is it pejorative?
I don’t know that it’s pejorative. I think that “street performer” is more descriptive. Because most people, if you say the word “busker” – you know, “my daughter’s boyfriend is a busker” – they think, “oh, he’s homeless but he still owns a guitar and a hat.” So for me, to prevent having to explain myself over and over again, I just say street performer, and people get the idea.
What’s your annual cabbage budget?
Last year, I deducted $478 worth of cabbages on my taxes.