Thursday, 7 March 2019

A woman taken ill - 8th - 14th July 2016

Green Park #1 - 8th July 2016

I was playing folk and jazz tunes on accordion: It was too hot, and I had developed pressure sores on my bum from sitting on a stool to play. It was worth it, however, just to see lots of faces beaming down at me.

My partner, Jan's brother, David had kindly given me an accordion he'd originally bought for himself, and I was performing on it for the first time today. Sadly I couldn't play my more intricate ditties because to be heard above a cacophony of chatter, I'd had to pump the bellows a lot harder.

A near-white Labrador crossed my path... very gorgeous.

Oxford Circus #2 - 9th July 2016

I took over the pitch from 'alto sax' John, who told me that he'd been going to email me out of concern because he hadn't seen me for ages. I said I'd been in Paris. He'd recently returned from Italy where the temperature had been 36 degrees. The heat hadn't affected him, though, because he'd mostly been in the bars. Like me, he's realised that there's no money to be made at Baker Street #1 unless one plays next to the escalator, plus the staff don't really want us buskers there.

Approximately £4 was thrown in my case by a rail thin young man before I began.

Thinking of the female blackbird with a ruffled feather on my allotment, I tried to imitate her call as I fiddled Scottish folk tune, 'The Hawk'.

It was very busy with people heaving along different types of equipment. Many of them had musical instruments, and one lady was carrying an orange yoga mat.

A white-haired man who was red in the cheeks gave me cash and flashed me a delayed grin, then a lady with a sandy Afro told me that my fiddling was "very nice."

A pair of drunks approached with their bottles slotted between their fingers: The guy produced a handful of change for me, and the girl sporting a yellow bob and sunglasses indicated that she liked my music. They both lingered next to me with sloshed gazes for a while.

I received a donation from a plump mother with her equally plump daughter.

Eventually the heat got to me (I panicked that I would faint), so I finished 10 minutes early. The station supervisor back in the office thought that black busker, Claude, was me after I told him my name so he could retrieve my busking license for me.

Tottenham Court Road #2 - 14th July 2016

On my arrival at the pitch there was a woman in one of the side corridors nearby complaining of stomach cramps. She told staff that she didn't feel well enough to make it up the steps where she could access more help. After being asked whether or not she was pregnant, I overheard staff saying that she now felt better and was well enough to travel.

I recognized a short lady with badger-like features. She said that she enjoyed my music because it was unamplified. A man wearing a cap, who looked as if he was in his mid-thirties and had a European (?) accent, requested that I play 'Happy Birthday' on my violin. I happily obliged for the teenage girl he was with, and everyone around them joined in and made generous contributions.

The din of a camp-sounding male station staff member's announcement kept repeating at two-minute intervals, "Use your contactless payment card to top up today." I managed to psychologically block this out, though, as a bloke who looked pregnant in his t-shirt howled in response to my playing.

Given that drilling was coming from the flimsy blue wall beside me, it was too bright and airless plus I was suffering from PMT, I was proud that I'd survived the session and made excellent money.

Monday, 4 March 2019

Out of control people - 3rd - 7th July 2016

Oxford Circus #2 - 3rd July 2016

During my tube journey into London, I was in disbelief at the announcement that both St Paul's and Chancery Lane stations had had to be closed due to a shortage of staff?!

I was suffering from a slight headache and it felt strange having not done any yoga this morning.

For the first time, I performed folk and jazz tunes on the melodica and was pleased that people thought that my efforts were worth paying for.

A middle-aged black woman in deep red and gold stood next to me and said about my melodica playing, "You're doing very well. I enjoyed it very much. God bless." Needless to say I was chuffed!

I switched to folk fiddling, and humming some (Eastern European)? folk song, a young man did a tiresomely stupid impression of me playing violin as he waltzed / swayed down the corridor. He then took off to catch his train.

Using breath control, I was able to add more expression to my tunes on melodica.

A small blonde girl nuzzled into her identically blonde father's neck as he held her in his arms and told her that my performance on fiddle was "beautiful," then a lad with lengthy dreadlocks dyed bright pink and green gave me money and a smile.

Bank #2 - 7th July 2016

While I was signing in, an Underground staff member telephoned to ask for assistance escorting a VIP (the 10th today).

I accrued approximately £2 for 45 minutes worth of folk fiddling, but an elderly guy with cotton wool hair told me that my playing had created a "beautiful sound." I indeed felt as if the quality of my playing had improved after having felt uplifted by a conversation I'd had with my Polish concert pianist friend, Nuna, yesterday.

A tall, attractive lady with thick, curly, caramel-grey hair bent down and with deliberation placed a £2 coin in my case.

I found it a little disconcerting when a very pretty Portuguese woman stood next to me listening, then began humming along to my music, mesmerized (her hands in prayer). She told me that she was loving what she was hearing, and that I'd "really changed the vibe" down here. Taking my hands in hers, she introduced herself as "Katerina" and reiterated, "You really change the vibe," and continued that she was in London on holiday. I was blown away by this compliment, then as if to negate it, an evil-looking boy whistled mockingly in accompaniment to what I was playing.

A little later, Katerina reappeared and I was shocked by what I witnessed: She was hunting down what I assumed was a Muslim couple; shouting at them abusively, "Change the vibe!" The female wearing a headscarf looked perplexed and scared. I could tell that they couldn't really be bothered, but I told two 'London Underground' contractors in bright orange, to report the incident to the station supervisor back up in the office.

I then heard a police officer being summoned over the tannoy. Just to make double sure that this incident was going to be taken care of, I reported Katerina to station staff who observed, "She's not all there," and that she'd been "abusing everyone," including people with mobile phones (commuters lost in their phones irritate me too, to be fair)!

I carried on and received a round of applause from schoolkids who I could tell were about to take the piss until I smiled at them, and a small Asian lad handed me a £2 coin once I'd packed my stuff away.

At some point, a friendly older guitarist busker warned me off playing Bank #1, where he'd earned next to nothing due to a din caused by the nearby industrial cooling fan.

Back up in the office, the thin, wrinkly Cockney station supervisor leaned across the counter to peel the 'Visitor's Pass' sticker off my chest, but I didn't allow him this intrusion into my personal space, and removed it myself. I remembered that the same thing had happened to me before with a few of the other supervisors here.

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

A self-harming commuter - 29th June - 1st July 2016

Oxford Circus #2 - 29th June 2016

I felt as if I had a cold coming, but the heat underground was bearable, so that was good.

Thankfully, Parisian singer / guitarist, Edwige was on pitch #1 (she practically lives on pitch #2)! She informed me, however, that there was an 'illegal' busker where I was about to play. Rage rose in me as I anticipated a testy confrontation. The guy was actually compliant enough, though, and said that he was off to find an outside pitch.

A Korean-looking man wearing a pea green face mask gave me money, plus many white-haired and cream-haired pensioners made donations.

A rake-thin oldish fellow in a thready jumper seemed as if he was listening to my Irish fiddle tunes as he passed. He then stopped and twitched violently. I feared that he was about to start fitting, but he held onto the handrail and hit the side of his head repeatedly with his hand... I thought I'd better start playing again as finally he left.

I thought I recognized a black lad and his mother from a previous session here, who enjoyed my playing and threw me some change: It was a relief to find that in these dark and disturbing political times of Brexit, people were still responding to my music and giving generously.

Finally, Australian singer / guitarist, Kath, offered me a couple of pitches she couldn't play for later on in the week, and told me that my fiddle playing had sounded "beautiful."

Leicester Square #1 - 29th June 2016

On my arrival at the station I informed the supervisor that I had a pitch booked for 12 pm. "It's half twelve," he replied, like he thought I was crap for being late.

By now I had the full-blown sniffles and part way through my set I had to have a spoonful of my partner, Jan's roasted vegetables with rice to keep me going.

I received cheers and applause from schoolkids and teenagers in plain clothes coming off the escalator, and stroked my newly-formed abs.

A large, motherly lady with long dark frizzy hair stated that my folk fiddling was "lovely," and made a donation, plus an elderly lady of Chinese appearance wearing a white bobble hat also presented me with coins.

Green Park #1 - 30th June 2016

The racket from the escalator engineering works taking place nearby, prompted me to turn and face oncoming commuters: I took joy in folk fiddling a lot louder than is normally required for this pitch.

The atmosphere was airless.

Children wearing thick navy cloaks with an emblem of some sort stitched over their hearts tossed me some cash, then a 20 pence piece with a blue star edged in pink stuck to it came into my possession.

Before finishing early, I happily accepted more rounds of applause from some very sweet schoolchildren.

Tottenham Court Road #2 - 30th June 2016

When I asked permission to use the staff toilet, an accommodating station supervisor almost said, "We can get you one of those!"

The European (?) classical violinist busker who was on the pitch when I got there, shook my hand in introduction. She'd been performing amplified and had collected a lot of money, which as an acoustic fiddler I didn't think I'd be capable of. I ended up doing well enough, though.

I felt tired out from the flu bug I'd contracted.

A paper clip plus money were deposited in my case by a lady with short grey locks, and 'fashionista' girls sarcastically enthused, "Beautiful!"

St Paul's - 1st July 2016

A black station supervisor with personality and dreadlocks commented, "I don't mind if you play sweet music." When I told him I needed to use the toilet because I'd drunk too much tea this morning, he replied, "You can never drink too much tea; just enough."

The acoustics were dead due to the vast amount of people pressing past.

A grey-haired gentlewoman wanted to know what I was playing on fiddle. "Irish music," I countered. She said it was "lovely" and likened it to the soundtrack to the film, 'Titanic'. She then inquired as to whether or not I was a student (like her sort always do). "No, just a full-time musician," I replied. Another woman was also curious as to what the music was I was performing, so I gave her the same answer. She sang back the phrase I'd just played, and promised that next time she'd give me more than the 12p change she'd had in her purse.

I smiled at a balding guy with a white beard who'd paused to listen to me, and he paid me a compliment with some cash, plus another guy in a suit declared that my Irish fiddling sounded "very nice!"

Schoolkids gave donations and rounds of applause, and a camp man with next to no hair shouted, "Grazie!"with his contribution.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Horror at the Brexit vote - 18th - 26th June 2016

These little fairy faces were there to greet me at my allotment during this most dark and depressing of months. 
This blog is dedicated to Jo Cox, MP.
Bank #2 - 18th June 2016
The fresh lemon and ginger drink I'd just bought from Pret, sustained me throughout my second session of folk fiddling here today, however the mosquito bites on my legs started to irritate in the heat.
A lady with pink, purple and blonde hair made a donation; I received 10ps from 1969 and 1973, and a business-type man thanked me for my music - but didn't follow through with any cash.
I spotted a Japanese bride in a white wedding dress covered by her coat (I'd seen many such brides in Paris this time around), then on my return to the station supervisor's office to sign out, there was a line of armed police outside the door.
Baker Street #1 - 19th June 2016
It was the first time I'd played on this brand new busking pitch for which the vinyl had yet to be laid: The station supervisor left it up to me to decide where I wanted to set up, so long as it was on the mid-level concourse opposite the train announcements monitor. I chose a spot next to the escalators.
An infirm black chap with a walking stick gave me £1 and requested I play some Vivaldi. I told him that I perform mostly Irish fiddle music, and obliged when he wanted me to play some for him. He was then curious about which part of Ireland the tunes were from. Not really knowing the answer, I replied, "Dublin," and feared he'd keep on interrupting me. Thankfully he didn't.
Money kept appearing in my case from over my shoulder (including four £2 coins), and every staff member who saw me, smiled.
I felt very exposed, however, with people coming at me from all directions and thought how easy it would be for somebody to shoot or stab me: Passionate and popular Jo Cox MP had just been brutally murdered in broad daylight as she innocently went about her business within her constituency of Batley and Spen, and in my heart I dedicated this session to her.
Little kids were captivated by my violin, but their mothers dragged them away, and an older Chinese-looking guy complimented me on my playing.
I'd enjoyed busking here, but instinctively felt that 'amplified' buskers would eventually ruin it for us all by playing too loudly.
Charing Cross #2 - 19th June 2016
A well spoken and dressed lady in navy said softly, "Bravo!" as she passed; I let a small blonde boy with a blank expression feel the top of my violin, and he and his young sister tipped me. She had stunning light green almond-shaped eyes and said to me, "You must be a very good musician."
Sporadically, my folk fiddling elicited clapping, and a trendy creature with long brown hair relieved herself of her one and two pence pieces into my case. The bloke she was with then asked if she felt "lighter."
Baker Street #1 - 25th June 2016
I arrived feeling beyond depressed about the referendum vote to leave the EU, given that I've loved being able to work both in England and France: Maybe now I'd have to wave goodbye to my dream of living in Paris full-time.
The fingers on my left hand became mangled with tension as I fiddled away, and I must've told half a dozen people I was sorry but I didn't know the way to Madame Tussauds or the directions to a local pub where many of today's London Pride revellers seemed to be gathering.
Ruminating on how much I hate having been condemned to the label, 'Great British', I felt cheered slightly by the vision of two elderly white-haired men in skirts of golden leaves climbing a flight of steps up to the overground platform.
An androgynous Scottish woman with a glittered side face revealed with her donation that she played brass instruments and (having stood and listened for a while), that she admired anyone who can play the violin, plus a surprising amount of kids exited the station with mini versions of violins (and a trombone) strapped to their backs.
Typically, this pitch had been repositioned in a thoughtless, rubbish place; beneath a booming 'anouncements' speaker, and just over an hour after I'd started performing, I left with a pittance.
Charing Cross #2 - 26th June 2016
I arrived to the news that Charing Cross railway station was closed, which sapped more of the energy I'd already expended this morning challenging my obsessive-compulsive behaviour, then to top it all off, a turbaned member of staff seemed to derive pleasure out of informing me, "It'll be really dead... really, REALLY dead!"
Too down to take much notice of the flow of commuters, I sensed, however, that those who'd tipped me had genuinely enjoyed my accordion set, but each time somebody had approached, I got drowned out by station announcements on repeat - much, much too loud for an virtually empty station.
It occured to me that now more than ever before, I must  listen to my heart and try to follow it (back to Paris).

From Versailles to Bank - 6th - 18th June 2016

Outside Abbesses Métro station, Montmartre.
rue du Mont-Cenis, Paris - 6th June 2016
The sun was shining for the first time in days, heating up the dog shit nearby, but I was so pleased at its appearance that I didn't care if my shoulders got burnt.
I was missing my Polish concert pianist friend, Nuna, who makes me feel not so alone as an artist, but was elated when she agreed to meet me for coffee one more time before I had to go back to England.
Who I took to be a grandfather cradling his baby grandson, stepped around to my Irish fiddling as if it was a lullaby, and I found it wierd that I couldn't hear the voice of a tour guide feeding information into his gaggle of tourists' earphones, though I could see his lips move. A couple of the white-haired members of this party tipped me, and with her donation, a petite, middle aged woman with Caramac-tinted hair and dark eyes told me that my playing was "Très jolie!"
My presence also attracted lots of smiles and contributions from young people who'd migrated here to admire the city view.
Square Jehan-Rictus, Place des Abbesses, Paris - 6th June 2016
It was busy this early evening. I set up on a shady spot where two boys were running around in front of me (at least they weren't kicking a football).
A lad aged about three wearing a stripy navy and white coat that could've passed for a pyjama top came up and said, "Bonjour!" Me: "Bonjour! Ça va?" Him: "Oui." He stared at me penetratingly for ages, then lifted the two euros 50 that I'd collected from the small to the large compartments of my case. I let him touch my violin before he left, then a while later he returned and declared, "Maintenant...." Again he was mesmerized by my folk fiddling to the extent that his mum had to gently coax him away.
French student, Paul, asked if he could record me performing from 10 metres away so's to capture the ambience of the setting for a podcast he was making about different peoples' experiences of Paris. I agreed, and in exchange he took a few (awful) pictures of me and gave me change.
The 'orchid' perfume Elizabeth (the generous shop assistant at L'Occitane) had just sprayed all around my head, really stank, so in-between tunes I attempted to wash it off with the warming water I had left in my bottle. A balding Frenchman wanted to know if it was English music I was playing. "It's Irish," I replied. He then told me that as he was passing Place des Abbessess, my music had sounded "very pretty."
A small olive-skinned girl with long café au lait curls danced jigs along to my fiddling, and the elderly local lady who's part of the furniture here, emerged from the square dressed in navy for a change. 
"Bravo!" shouted both a tiny black lass and a young girl with a freckled face attached to her mother, as another Japanese bride showed up with her groom whose rolls of fat heaved beneath his white shirt and black braces.

Busker, 'Jimmy Hendrix', who talks gibberish to the stallholders and shopkeepers of Montmartre while a backing track blasts out from his amp he often leans his electric guitar against.
La Vannerie, Versailles, France - 7th June 2016
My friend, Nuna, had been sceptical I'd make much money busking in Versailles (where she lives): Before I got off the bus we'd caught together from Versaiilles-Rive-Droite station, she whispered in my ear that she wished me good money.
The story she'd just told me she'd written about a golden violin that a lion (her late partner and my friend, Peter) had found in a forest, enriched my relaxed folk fiddle performance beneath a covered walkway of quaint shops.

Pleasantly surprised to hear my music, plenty of debonair locals tipped me well, and a shopkeeper of tea-related products seemed happy to have me there. Two mature Frenchman who'd been listening to me from inside this shop asked me to confirm that it was Irish music I was playing, then one of them handed me a 10-euro note!
The woman working in the boucherie opposite, however, kept giving me beady-eyed daggers and closed the shop door - so eventually I moved along the wall bit and finished up when I was ready.
Square Jehan-Rictus, Place des Abbesses, Paris - 8th June 2016
A black guy and a boy were playing footy, but fortunately the ball didn't roll in my direction, and a glamorous gran and her husband gave me two euros for playing folk fiddle to their pushchair-bound grandson.
Eventually I ended up shifting from my bosky position to the side of the square into my usual spot before a gang of men on scooters could've easily mowed me down.

I loved this accordionist's performance on a Métro train into central Paris.
Bank #2 - The London Underground - 18th June 2016
It was a miserable, grey day, and I was thinking about how my neck had become more scraggy since I last played here.
The upbeat station supervisor reasoned that I'd remember that the station evacuation point was 81 Cannon Street, because the same number had been assigned to my visitor's sticker.
It was buzzing, and commuters were receptive to my latest Paris trip-infused folk fiddling: A young woman with her trombone in a light green case; an old man in tartan dress (I especially liked his bobble hat), and hipster guys in shades wearing headphones, all made donations, plus a ginger-haired, together with other approximately 10-year-old boys gave me a round of applause.
In applying what I'd learnt doing standing yoga poses to my stance (tailbone tucked under and hips tipping forward), I was able to put less pressure on my knees and back, I clocked a scooter with disco lights, and thought I heard a svelte bastard comment, "That's terrible!"

Boulangerie smells - 1st - 3rd June 2016

My fiddle and I in Montmartre, Paris.
Square Jehan-Rictus, Place des Abbesses, Paris - 1st June 2016
The square was closed today, and the elderly local lady with wrinkly stockings who was around most days couldn't understand why: Inside, gardeners had yanked out the spectacular foxgloves and were replacing them with what looked like calendula plants.
A friendly Frenchman with a grey ponytail and a large cream dog on a lead gave me two euros for my Irish fiddling (as he'd done the last time I saw him here), and two dark-complexioned sisters awarded me the same amount.
Baking aromas from the nearby boulangerie stunned my nose and a little brown-eyed, brown-haired girl shouted "Bravo, Madam!" over and over again as she danced full of joy to my music.
An à la mode bottle blonde in her latter years was sat impassively on the bench opposite for the entirety of my time here. I figured that if my playing had been annoying her she would've moved.

1st June was the day for a new display of flowers to be planted in Square Jehan-Rictus.
Corner of rue du Chevalier de la Barre, Paris - 1st June 2016
The young artist chap who'd positioned himself smack bang in front of me previously was here again, drawing a long-haired woman.
Most bystanders were totally unmoved by my folk fiddle playing, but a tourist filming me on his mobile made a contribution, and I observed the female artist dressed in a black ankle-length coat and green beanie who was always walking past me looking grave. Later on, however, I saw her smile for the first time while she was sketching a guy sat at a table on one of the many terraces of Place du Tertre.
As I was gathering my belongings together a baby pigeon with yellow feathers sticking out of its head was pecking in-between the cobble stones.

'Green beanie' artist in the zone.
rue du Calvaire, Paris - 1st June 2016
I set up at the top of a flight of sheer steps and almost immediately a vibrant lady with a severe orange bob and "Paris" printed in red on the side of her shopping bag gave me one euro and exclaimed, "Bravo!" about my Irish fiddling.
My cashmere scarf was rubbing the already raw eczema on the side of my neck making me feel feverish, and a classy woman in approximately her late 50s furnished me with coins as she crested the staircase.
A snowy-haired Frenchman humming French chanson asked me if my session had gone well. I think it was a sketch pad he was holding, and that he'd been subtly trying to get me to vacate the pitch he regarded as being his, then in timely fashion a guitarist and his mate took over from me and played cross-legged on the steps below.
Square Jehan-Rictus, Place des Abbesses, Paris - 3rd June 2016
Feeling slightly sick from having just devoured a greedy pig-sized bar of white chocolate, I paused to admire the square's flowerbeds which featured some cabbage-type foliage.
It began to rain and an American guy who'd been listening to my folk fiddle set from the bench opposite told me, "Sounds good," then with his donation made a comment about the importance of my coming prepared for the wet weather.
rue Cortot, Paris - 3rd June 2016
Having just had my head massaged and hair cut by charming Frenchmen (even I found attractive), and on hearing the low muffled chimes of the Sacre Cœur's bells, I felt like a queen busking on violin with my beloved Parisian kingdom spread out beneath me.
An ancient French lady who'd chicly swept her mahogany hair back off her veined forehead walked past me a few times and left - so I'd guessed, but there she was stood behind me with 50 cents in her hand which she wanted me to make sure was a "cinquante" for my collection.
Laughing and filming beside me were a bunch of what sounded like native Frenchman. Eventually the bearded one wearing a cap tipped me 50 cents as did a woman whose Indian male companion had been videoing me for ages without having dreamt of asking me if I minded.
I was given a euro by a man in a bright yellow jacket and a rotund old guy dressed in a blue suit surprised me with a grin, then whilst waiting for a bus exploded, "C'est merde!"
I carried on performing to lots of appreciative young people (including a woman with a smiley heart-shaped face) for as long as I could before another downpour forced me to stop, and mused upon how I'd experienced no pain in my arm since employing the 'wrist in neutral' technique to play my musical instruments.

A rash and rain - 26th - 29th May 2016

Rue Saint-Rustique, Montmartre, leading up to the area where I frequently busk.
Corner of rue du Chevalier de la Barre, Paris - 26th May 2016
Tiredness consumed me and I had an ugly, dry rash on the side of my neck which was made worse by my worrying about the faulty lock on my hotel room door I'd hoped was going to be repaired while I was out.
The unstimulating sight of another cheap-looking Japanese bride in a white wedding dress greeted me, then by contrast, an olive-skinned soldier with his gun at the ready winked at me.
As I was leaving, a bristly white-haired artist with a sketch board stuck under his arm (whom I didn't recognize) said something about his "colleague" (my late violinist friend, Peter)? and confided that my fiddle playing was "super."

Six years ago, Peter shut his thumb in this side door of Le Saint Jean, but despite the agony carried on playing his fiddle with guitarist Eirik and I, anyway. He would refer to us as being like foxes; strategically working out which would be the most lucrative of the 'Montmartre' pitches to perform on and in what order.
rue Cortot, Paris - 26th May 2016
I'd make really good money most times I busked my solo double bass set here, but today the atmosphere was sleepy and the only contribution for my fiddle performance I got was from a tourist who'd been admiring the view across the city's rooftops.

A guy with the top half of his hair in a ponytail was playing jazz melodica brilliantly along to backing tracks on one of the Métro trains I'd taken this morning. Inspired by the sound, I treated myself to a Hohner Melodion & Melodica from Star's Music Paris - 11, Bd de Clichy, in the 9ème. 
Corner of rue du Chevalier de la Barre, Paris - 28th May 2016
Just after I'd received my first donation, a brunette, cosy-seeming old lady whose window I'd been busking folk fiddle outside, requested I move on, so I repositioned myself across the cobbles in front of a pair of gates from behind which local residents kept coming and going.
Lots of big ugly cars and buses passed by, as did clusters of unresponsive tourists, but a slip of a kid handed me some coins.
rue Cortot, Paris - 28th May 2016
It wasn't long after a family showed me their appreciation for my music that bottom-heavy raindrops began to splatter my violin, then a young globetrotter-type proffered me a euro as I swiftly packed away.
Place du Tertre - Norvins, Paris - 28th May 2016

Armed soldiers just down from where I was busking at Place du Tertre - Norvins.
Relaxing at a table outside the café beside where I was Irish fiddling, was a wispy woman in flowery attire. Pleased at my arrival, she preceded to take loads of photos of me with her phone on a selfie stick (looking utterly ridiculous). I assumed that given I'd provided her with free entertainment for the past hour she'd give me some money, but she merely sat back down to examine the shots she'd just captured.
Nevertheless, I was experiencing such joy from performing between rolls of thunder, and a rugged, wiry fellow who was most probably a local nodded me his approval from the midst of a herd of mainly tourists inching down the street. I also received handouts from an audience that'd gathered at the bus stop and on the benches opposite and a small girl with dark chocolate eyes grasping a rainbow-coloured plastic hoop who'd strode by a few times.

The Paris Folk Festival took place today in Place des Abbesses, Montmartre.
Place des Abbesses, Paris - 29th May 2016
The eczema I had all over the top half of my body was making me burn, and it was dizzying having boys doing tricks on their scooters weaving in front of and behind me as I was trying to busk folk fiddle.
Hunched on the bench opposite was an old woman I'd been noticing around the place for years. She had a hospital bracelet fastened around her wrist and was wearing nude stockings that were wrinkled around her feet.
Square Jehan-Rictus, Place des Abbesses, Paris - 29th May 2016
An English family gave me a euro, then eventually my violin was getting too rain-drenched to continue - and besides, I just wanted to go back to bed as I don't remember having felt so poorly since I was a child.

Place des Abbesses, Montmartre - 28th May 2016.