Why do some people (including those I consider friends), feel they have the right to put buskers down? I consider myself to be fairly thick-skinned, but I do get sick and tired of being likened to a beggar; being asked what kind of people give me money; how much I earn, and whether or not I declare my earnings to HMRC. Firstly, it's none of anyone's damn business what I earn, and secondly, playing a musical instrument is a skill which (when taken seriously), requires hours of dedicated practise and even though a percentage of people may give me money because they feel sorry for me, I know a lot of people pay me because they genuinely enjoy what I'm doing.
At the pub the other night, a group of us were discussing why some people give me money but don't seem to want to look at me. Apparently it's a "British thing"; they maybe feel embarrassed being seen to be giving money to somebody that is to all intents and purposes, begging. I honestly can't identify with this "British thing" at all (being a person who's never conformed to society's expectations regarding how to behave). I shouldn't have to feel pressure to justify what I do as a job, and I'm proud that through thick and thin I've never given up on my desire to earn a living playing my musical instruments - and that could be what people can't stand.
Yesterday marked my second time of playing piano accordion on the Underground, and happily it was a more physically comfortable experience than it was the last time at Oxford Circus: I wore a sleeveless, fluffy cardigan to prevent the accordion straps digging into my shoulders and as it was a fairly quiet session I got the chance to practise some of the tunes in my set I needed to brush up on.
Generally it was a miserable lot who were passing by today, but I managed to raise a few smiles. Just as I was packing away, a woman placed a booklet, 'Reason to Believe', on top of my accordion and told me, "Jesus loves you." Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!