It's strange, but often on entering an Underground station before I even get my violin out to play, I can tell from the vibe of the place whether or not it's going to be a worthwhile session: Today Westminster was packed and the vibe decidedly 'grey'. Things got off to a bad start when for some reason the station supervisor couldn't buzz me in through the door into the office to sign in, then I got a frosty reception when eventually I was able to enter - even though the door mechanism failing hadn't been my fault!
This little tussle put me a negative frame of mind but when I perform my mood naturally lifts and I play as if each performance is going to be my last. This afternoon, though, I could tell it was going to be slow money-wise as blank face upon blank face of completely disinterested, trendy 20-somethings passed me by and a pair of Chinese girls stood next to me arm-in-arm just smiling inanely for what felt like an eternity!
Notting Hill Carnival kicked off today, and already at midday teenagers were pissed and shouting (God, I sound like a grumpy old woman)! Gradually my concentration waned and finally I lost the will to live as I locked eyes with people (always a mistake), many of whose 'What ARE you doing??' expressions made me feel like a freak, and then there were the assholes who made a point of looking at how much money I'd got in my case, then stared at me as if to say "Give up, you fool."
After this I forced myself to play at Bank #2 for a couple of hours where the reception was a little more human, and I almost made the money to cover my bills this week. Even though I have days like this the passion I feel for music never diminishes, and I'm long enough in the tooth to know that the next busking experience will be different again (I never know what's going to happen), and I'm thankful I can earn money doing what I love to do.