Curtain call for Cowboy
After 46 years the ‘‘Singing Cowboy’’ plans to hang up his guitar.
Sixty-eight-year-old Jock Hume has been performing country and western songs with his acoustic guitar on the streets of Auckland since busking was first permitted in the 1980s.
Since 1997 he has commonly been seen performing at the Mt Roskill shops. But now he plans to retire.
The Mt Roskill resident says the last few years have been much slower for busking and feels he’s best to quit while he’s still in good health.
‘‘I’ve found things have changed so much in this country, there’s not the emphasis now on western things there used to be.
‘‘In the 70s and early 80s the west was on TV, there were second-hand western shops around … my type of thing was in such big demand then.’’
Western music first grabbed Hume as a child when he would listen to the children’s request session on One ZB, a popular station at the time.
The original signing cowboys Gene Autry and Roy Rogers would inspire him, he says.
‘‘When I was 8 or 9 I learned my first cowboy song, it was actually the first cowboy song ever written [on paper], The Streets of Laredo. I played it at the school concert, Takapuna Grammar 1961.’’
Nine years later he became the Singing Cowboy, making a living by performing at various functions and events.
‘‘In 1970 there was no such thing as busking ... you’d just about be arrested.’’
But in the 1980s laws changed, something he describes as a ’’godsend’’.
‘‘I wouldn’t have survived otherwise.’’
A laughable memory of his career is the time an intoxicated person told him to get a proper job. A more encouraging one on the other hand was when a child came and hugged him.
‘‘This nice little fellow, he and his mum were listening to me over at Milford shops on the North Shore, he came up and gave me a hug … it just blew me away.’’
Hume says he now plans to use his time pursuing other interests. ’’I probably will miss it for a while but with all those other interests I won’t be bored. If people really want me for something next, they can chase me, not the other way round.’’
Hume officially plans to finish performing in February next year.
Jock Hume is hanging up his guitar after 46 years as the Singing Cowboy.