"Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some people move our souls to dance. They awaken us to new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom. Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon. They stay in our lives for awhile, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never ever the same." - Flavia Weedn
Charing Cross #2 - 3rd December 2014
A guitarist and singer busker told me that he'd been hoping I wouldn't turn up today so that he could carry on playing. Given that I kept getting cut off on the 'busking line' when I was trying to book my pitches for this week, I said I was lucky to get a couple of relatively decent pitches - including this one.
He then described my African-Parisian guitarist and singer busker friend as being a "crap" guitarist called Pierre (I'd been wondering what Pierre's name was for ages, and now I know). It means 'Peter' in English and is kind of fitting because it put me in mind of my dear violinist friend, Peter, who died in May 2012 in Paris. Pierre is far from "crap": Like Peter, he plays with HEART, not arrogance, and I feel instantly happy in his presence because of his magnetic smile.
Two little boys looked proud of themselves for getting the 1p and 2p they threw, into my small, circular violin rosin box and a school kid who looked as if he'd escaped from a House of Horrors did a impression of me bowing my violin. I amassed approximately £5 during the first hour of playing and then a shy-looking black guy wearing a cap over his face gave me a crisp new £10 note and business picked up nicely from there - especially when I added Christmas carol, 'The Holly and the Ivy' interpreted in a 'folk' style to the mix.
Oxford Circus #2 - 5th December 2014
Oxford Circus at 12 pm is just as mad-busy as it is in the middle of rush hour. For a busker it really is a 'get trampled on or go for it' situation and I had to push-and-pull my accordion with extra force this afternoon so as to be heard above the commotion. I felt truly knackered after two hours thirty minutes of doing this!
'Silent Night' was a favourite with those feeling festive; a kindly guy gave me a 'Gro-org London Hydroponics 10% off' postcard plus £2; an older man did a little dance before dropping me some coins and after I'd finished I found a fake diamond that looked as if it had come off a necklace amongst my brown cap of substantial earnings. Along with other trinkets given to me while busking, it went into a compartment of my violin case for good luck.
Green Park #1 - 6th December 2014
John the jazz alto saxophonist looked decidedly downcast as he left the pitch I took over and so I didn't hold out much hope of doing very well today - especially when a lad shouted out, "She's playing the cello!" Actually this was a new one on me because it's normally my double bass, not my violin that gets misidentified as being a cello.
I was due to play at Hammersmith for the first time later on, but when my 'folk fiddle' busker friend with a white beard arrived, he told me that Hammersmith is reputedly the worst pitch on the network because of where it's positioned, and that I'd be lucky to make my train fare home. He said that if he was me he'd give it a go "just for the experience," though, and that as buskers we go through 'dry' patches: People are still saving up for Christmas, but hopefully in the next few weeks they will get more into the Christmas spirit. As it turned out my arm felt sore and the tubes were rammed with shoppers, and so I decided to give Hammersmith a miss for today.
Green Park #1 - 7th December 2014
While I was practising my 'Christmas set' on accordion in my bedroom this morning, my partner, Jan, came up the stairs hollering "Ho! Ho! Ho!" like Father Christmas. This made me jump out of my skin and laugh (I can be an angsty person and Jan's ability to 'take me out of myself' is one of the things I treasure most about our relationship). As I played these Christmas songs on accordion again at Green Park this afternoon, I still had a smile on my face thinking about this incident. Also, a young woman I was sure I'd seen before gave me a £10 note and wished me "good luck with it all."