Today was hard work. I was exhausted and had reached the point I do about every two weeks when I feel as if I need a week off busking: Doing six to seven two-hour performances a week is physically demanding (I only have mini-breaks during performances). My arms and fingers work as hard as the muscles and tendons of an athlete and in order to have the stamina to play for two hours straight, I must do a decent work-out at the gym most days.
I felt like a robot; repeating over and over the same old tunes just to put food on the table, but people were smiling at me lots, which encouraged me to concentrate on the quality of my playing. This, in turn, relaxed me, and sufficient £1 coins trickled in.
Here is a poem I wrote recently about busking back in the day on George Street, Hove. My poetry teacher at the time, (Scottish poet, Roddy Lumsden), challenged me to write a sonnet containing the rhyming words, "chutzpah" and "foot spa" (I'd never written a sonnet before). The below poem is in the form of a traditional Shakespearean sonnet:
Busking on George Street
"A waste of space!" she shrieks and tips our stand.
We'd tossed a coin that ruled to chance the rain.
Outside egg-splattered JAG our sound is grand,
though human poo and waft of sick remain.
Some loud man with no tongue he takes a shine
(more pence for 'Jingle Bells' than jazz alone).
And Howard used to give people the time;
he handed out spare watches saved at home.
A purple-necked brown pigeon always here
I call 'my soul'. Puffed up it answers back
no mind a feral toddler in its ear.
"We'll call our new band Foreskin!" snickers Pat.
Alive I feel around such Hove-ish chutzpah;
I'll go where these tunes take me - keep the foot spa!
by Gemma Boyd