"What's that tune?" a greying black-bearded donor asked, doubling back on himself. I couldn't possibly pronounce 'Tuige gan Grá a'm do Mháire?' but he seem satisfied knowing it was an Irish tune.
My oldest friend, Vanessa Merry from Park Hall Infants and Junior school, Walsall (who I hadn't seen for over 20 years) had just very kindly bought me a belated birthday cake (a very small 'deconstucted' and criminally expensive Eton Mess from The Pudding Bar in Greek Street, Soho), and I was in the mood to "Have fun!" as the station supervisor at Oxford Circus had urged me to.
Back in June, I'd played Kermit the frog's song 'The Rainbow Connection' on violin as Russell Newlove's bride walked down the aisle at their wedding in Saint Dunstan in the East Garden, Monument, and today this song attracted repeated coin-drops and teenage girl-clones imitated what I was playing in operatic voices.
A cute Chinese girl smiled at me from her father's arms: It's nice getting sustained glances because mostly people show monetary appreciation but don't seem to want to look at me. I don't really know why this is. Annie Schutt (singer in the 1930s and '40s swing jazz and blues band, The Priory Street Stardusters I played with in Brighton for five years), guessed that people do this because they're embarrassed. Embarrassed about what? Please enlighten me.
"I've always fancied myself as a patron of the arts," a station staff member doing his security checks joshed after making a donation. Then a much scarier man kept growling, "SO BLUE" as he approached me. I chose to ignore him in the same way I did a sleaze who flashed at me while I was playing jazz double bass on a bridge over Canal Saint Martin, Paris.
Half way through my set my nose began to itch and by 10 pm I'd exhausted myself with trying to itch and play at the same time, but tonight I left with a satisfyingly heavy hat and a happy heart.