Birdsong at my allotment (above are a couple of starlings that were hanging around the bird feeder last month), influences the tone and lightness of my fiddle playing while I'm performing.
Oxford Circus #2 - 2nd August 2015
I commented to the station supervisor before my session that it'd been a lot busier on the tube than usual for so early on a Sunday morning. He replied, "There's a cycling event all over the place and it's people coming out of the clubs... People don't like to drive on a Sunday morning because of road rage."
Two commuters shouted, "Bravo!", I received many rounds of applause and a young Chinese woman said of my folk fiddling, "Really beautiful!" Then a man loomed over me, tilted his phone above my head as if he was recording me and remarked, "Lovely morning!" Someone laid a fiver on a fawn bump in my violin case without my realizing it: I hollered, "Thank you!" to the backs of a pack of blokes walking away.
I thought about the horrific Sousse massacre and of how something similar could happen during one of my busking sessions on the London Underground, and also looked forward to getting back to practising my instruments after so long editing my first collection of poetry, Vivarium.
Yesterday I didn't make it to my session at St Paul's but I earned the good money I was getting here at 8 am on a Sunday last summer, which was pleasing.
Green Park #1 - 2nd August 2015
I asked a bearded member of staff with olive skin if he'd let me through the ticket barrier so I could sign in. He said he would if I promised not to play any country music on my violin.
Out of nowhere a man bawled, "Are you having fun?!", to which the attached crowd responded raucously.
I did much better money-wise than I'd anticipated, being as nowadays the response here to buskers at around 11 am of a weekend is mostly pretty dire for some reason.
A glam woman who'd had a lot of work done on her lips and looked like a softer version of the late comedian Joan Rivers dropped me change and told me, "You're very talented... I hope you get to play some place other than here where they appreciate you... I'm from a place where they love music: Israel."
London Bridge #2 - 5th August 2015
According to the station supervisor, this pitch isn't open at peak hours during the week: I'd arrived too early and was told to come back just before 10 am. To pass the time I pootled back and forth on London Bridge and saw a written tribute, "Life can still be beautiful" alongside a bunch of sunflowers left on the pavement by the younger sister of a guy who was killed here recently. I'd been feeling so depressed of late and I took this as a sign that life might be worth going on with after all.
My water bottle had spilt in my bag all over my 'folk violin' musical prompts, but fortunately they were all still legible.
A lanky man dug change out of a plastic bag full of coins for me: A 5p jumped back out of my case and a sauve gentleman picked it up and returned it, then decided to present me with some money himself.
I thought I saw people listening to my music to the sides of me. It was just the arms of my glasses, though, and a woman encouraged the little Asian girl she was with to take notice of me - but she turned away crying.
A hairy-faced man in full 'Scottish' get-up including a kilt smiled at me. He turned out to be 'Chris bagpipes' - a fellow busker. At the end of my session we talked about how the Underground weekend night service which is to be introduced next month, will impact on buskers: There'll be a less concentrated amount of people passing through the network when the West End theatres empty at around 10 pm, which will doubtlessly impact on our earnings. He also reflected that if TFL employ only a skeleton staff overnight, the chances of disaster / more fatalities will be increased if there were to be another terrorist attack: He said that it was a busker who helped staff save lives during the Kings Cross fire of 1987 when the station still had wooden escalators.
A tube strike (to do with the night service) was due to take place this evening so I'd guessed that people wouldn't be in a very generous mood. I did, however, manage to gather enough money to pay for a wheelbarrow that Bob at the allotments had just given me.