Monday, 2 January 2017

Vivarium - 12th - 18th July 2015


Throughout July I've been concentrating on putting together my first collection of poetry which is to be called Vivarium (I created the image above for the front cover).
Oxford Circus #2 - 12th July 2015
Depression clouded my vision on having just read in The Journalist about the job cuts that are impacting on journalists; just one of the negative after-effects resulting from the re-election of David Cameron as prime minister. Paired with this, my OCD had me in its vice-like grip and waves of panic were beginning to overtake me.
Due to the fact that I hadn't performed on fiddle for a week, my left arm felt stiff and sore: What I was playing lacked heart and I felt as if I couldn't be bothered.
An idiotic drunken bloke in a garish green top did a cartwheel inches away from me but by way of compensation, a number of tourists clapped in response to my folk music as they paraded by.
I was told by an older-looking black lady that my playing was "beautiful", and a 'goth' couple dropped me some cash accompanied by the man exclaiming, "That was amazing!" I was videoed by an adolescent foreign woman who wanted to send footage of my act to a friend because she liked what I was doing. I gestured that it'd be appreciated if she gave me some money in return and felt a pang of guilt for my unfriendliness towards her when she placed a £2 coin in my case she'd already had folded in the palm of her hand to give me.
As I was packing up a dark-skinned man said of what he'd heard of my music, "That's beautiful." It hadn't been very busy, but I'd done okay earnings-wise. I was pleased about this, especially since the male staff member who'd let me through the ticket barrier before I began my session had speculated that I wouldn't do very well at this time of the morning. 
I was off to play at St Paul's for the first time next, and as I was signing out the station supervior informed me that the city is normally "dead" at the weekends but that there are always tourists passing through at St Paul's.
St Paul's - 12th July 2015
I enjoyed playing on this pitch; it possesses ideal acoustics for the violin and there were plenty of animated tourists milling about.
A young Chinese woman gave my Irish fiddling a round of applause; a black guy stopped, listened, felt around in his pocket for change, then completely avoided making eye contact when he delivered it to me, and the blonde member of staff I'd exchanged greetings with at the ticket barrier flashed me a welcome smile as she passed.
Green Park #1 - 15th July 2015
It made a stimulating change to be performing on the accordion instead of the fiddle, and it seemed to get louder the longer I squeezed it for.
All of the Underground staff who walked by smiled at me; a lady with long brown hair called something like Regina double backed and threw me coins for an Irish tune she remarked was "so beautiful." A few minutes later she returned to ask if I play anywhere else apart from here. I offered her my business card and she was impressed to see that I'm also a double bassist.
I recorded myself performing for my friend Nuna which made me self-conscious, causing me to make more mistakes than usual, and an elderly gentleman checked that it had indeed been Irish and Scottish tunes he'd heard me playing.
Sid the melodeon player said that the general meeting that had just taken place for us buskers of the London Underground Busking Scheme hadn't been worth going to; that the majority of the buskers who attended were "paranoid" (about TFL's plans to re-audition us in two year's time), and that they work as buskers "because they can't get along with anyone else." I told him about my allotment and he revealed that he owns a patch of land where he grows carrots and onions he has to protect from squirrels who dig holes for their nuts.
My OCD had been chronic again and so I was proud of my cache for this session, among which nestled three £2 coins.
Oxford Circus #2 - 16th July 2015
8 pm performances are never my most favourite, but because Oxford Circus #2 is a 'good' pitch, I thought I'd make the effort to play it.
Whilst waiting for a singer-guitarist busker to finish, I saw a smart man travelling down the corridor on a Solo wheel; "a self-balancing last mile transport for the upstanding [or astonishingly lazy] commuter", according to the website.
A guy said, as he tossed a coin my way, that I'd stood out for him - or words similar to this.
I'd made the mistake of stuffing myself with pasta and raw tomato and basil sauce before leaving the house and on the tube into London I began to feel overwhelmed by the heat and anxious within the crowds of people. It was virtually airless on the pitch and after just over an hour I felt too sick to continue folk fiddling.
Tottenham Court Road #1 - 18th July 2015
Mercifully the temperature was pleasantly cool to perform in this morning. I looked on in horror, however, when I witnessed a woman allow the boy she was with to march down the 'up' escalator while taking photos of himself on his phone.
A posse of Chinese / Japenese teenagers hung around on the pitch vinyl I'd moved away from so that I could be more in hearing distance of passing commuters. Eventually they asked if they could interview me about street art. Apologetically I replied that I had to keep playing the violin because I needed the money, and one of them gave me £2 which I thought was polite of her.
No officious members of staff reprimanded me for standing away from the busking pitch and so I decided that I might come back and play here again at the same time on a Saturday morning.
I recorded myself playing Irish and Scottish tunes for Nuna and was pleased when I listened back to it, with the marked improvement in the speed, tone and intonation of my playing - although I do need my violin bow re-hairing.

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