Playing solo violin at Oxford Circus #2, London Underground at the peak of the evening rush hour is a different kettle of fish altogether. It's crazy, with thousands of commuters pumping past me through the hot corridor as I play. There's definitely a knack to being able to deal with this and also earn money, namely just going for it: Initially I always feel on the verge of a panic attack at the non-stop stream of bodies, but within minutes of starting to play, my confidence (borne out of years of performing in public) builds, and I'm able to dissociate myself from my surroundings and just focus on the music. I get a real buzz out of it until, as happened today, some delightful person farts as they pass by me, and the stench brings me back round to the unglamorous reality of this job.
It can also be dangerous - as some people who really don't get why I do what I do (because I love it) point out: One morning when I was playing here, I was crouching down getting my violin out, when suddenly a great big man fell on top of me and crushed me. Fortunately my violin was still in its case because if it hadn't have been, it would've been smashed to pieces. I didn't care so much if I was still in one piece or not! I suffered bruised ribs and a twisted ankle, and wasn't very forgiving of the man who said he hadn't seen me - due to his unhealthy mobile phone fixation. Merely leaving the house carries a risk, though, so really, incidents like this are all in a day's work for me.