Quick Sketch…

I’m taking some time out between putting the washing away to have a practice… Little and often works well for me. I’ve worked out the chords, I’ve learned the words… putting them all together is still a challenge! Normally I play this slower – there’s no point practicing at speed as you just learn mistakes but I thought I’d have a go at playing it at tempo… Ragged!

It’s going to be a cold week so there will be plenty of time to practice so I might well update later in week.  Anyway. I thought there might be some folk out there with a name for my mystery chords. I could work them out but I haven’t yet and I use them all the time so … any ideas and the best one gets a free CD….. Shape wise it’s like an upside down half dim… answers on postcard…..


busking, music

Ed Sheeran has no boobs

I’m in Newton Abbot today, waiting for people to come into town. While it’s quiet I thought I’ve been watching YouTube videos on Latin strumming and quietly having a go. Also I thought I’d share something…. maybe an ‘over share’ but who cares…

Here is the Fishman panel on my lovely Ed Sheeran Martin guitar. I loved it the first time I played it, the neck felt lovely. Also unlike the lovely Takamini I had been using, it stays in time outdoors.

Just as well as neither this nor the standard version of the same guitar are designed with boobs in mind. The takamini had the panel by the neck whereas this is just below the shoulder making it impossible to see when you’re standing up and I’m not exactly what one would call ‘busty’!!! So you have to hold it away from the body and then I can’t reach the tuning pegs…. first world problem I know… but a little more thought please guys!!😂😂😂

busking, learning, music

She was a showgirl…..

I love this song. I’d love to do a version on the street. So here’s how it starts. Listening to the song over and over. Learning the REAL words, in the right order. Working out the chords in a key I can sing.

I’ve been humming it to myself all day and now I’ve come home and got the chords…watched youtube a bit more… I want to do a latin style strum but that might be a bit much but who knows…. so more youtube…

Then practice, practice,rework, practice. And after all of that, it might not work. I did a version of The Logical Song. I love the song, I remember listening to it at home when I was a kid.  I worked it out, spent ages on it; it sucked. I tried it for a month thinking maybe it just needed to bed in a bit. It didn’t, it just sucked.

So I thought I’d share the process. Watch this space – I might even share some of my practice session with you!

busking, music, street life

Bring Me Sunshine

It was really quiet in town today.  I had no real plan about where I wanted to play except I didn’t want to play the same pitches I played last week and the the most of the other pitches were in the shade. It’s been a long cold winter and on such a lovey sunny day I couldn’t bring myself to play in the shade.

I’ve seen other buskers playing by the poetry pyramid in town, it can knock out a few of the other nearby pitches but there were no other buskers in town. It was bathed in beautiful early spring sunshine and I thought I’d give it a go. I’m usually the first in town as I come straight in from the school drop off and often I’m finishing more or less as others arrive so I figured it would be ok.

It felt strange to be standing in this new spot; I FaceTimed my husband who was playing Newton Abbot and showed him the various Vistas. He’s been busking for over 3o years and is a bit of hero wherever he plays so I trust his experience.  I went and got a coffee and played facing up the high street.

It was wonderful playing with the sun of my face. When I start playing I always wonder if I’ll make any money at all but you can’t think like that.  That’s one of the (many) things I love about busking; no one has to give you anything. Some people were sitting waiting for their bus they were clearly enjoying it.  Some people gave some pennies, some didn’t. It’s not about that. It can’t be about that.  You stop enjoying it, half an eye on the case, not fully inhabiting the songs; It feels horrible. So I don’t look in the case, I always say thank you, I live in the song that I’m singing. Even better today was that my  hands weren’t cold, my fingers didn’t hurt, I was without that distraction so I could just sing and play. I really enjoyed myself.

Towards the end of my set I saw Stripey and later Jamie come in to town.  It put me off my stride a little as I wondered if I was raining on their parade, like I said, it can knock out a couple of pitches and I don’t want to make things difficult. However we’er on pretty good terms I think they didn’t come over so I figured they found somewhere and anyway I knew I would be leaving town shortly to get ready for the pick up.

I finished with Should I Stay Or Should I Go… It makes me smile. I packed up and the street was as if I had never been there. I like that

busking, music, street life, winter

Break the ice

As I arrived in Newton Abbot, it was sleeting and bitterly cold, but a beautiful crisp winters day.  The weather forecast said it would be fine by 10 so it was just a matter of waiting.  I chatted to some locals and facetimed my husband who was busking in Exeter.  Not only was it cold in Exeter, it was so windy his mic stand and trumpet case were being blown around.  The only place it wasn’t windy was the Tea On The Green and there’s so much noise with the construction of the Clarence Hotel that was no good: I was the lucky one!

True enough it was fine by 10 and I started at 10:15, not because there were many people around but more because I thought if I waited any longer I would be too cold to play! I love playing in Newton Abbot, the acoustics are lovely as are the people. I started playing the guitar.  It hurt to press the strings down and I was reminded of when, years ago, I crewed for some big yachts in the aptly named ‘Icicle Series’ in Plymouth Sound.  My hands would be so cold I was practically incapable of tying any knots, or in fact doing anything other than act as ballast, sliding from port to starboard… for the first hour any way. Then somehow my hands would get used to being so cold and that’s how it was today.  After about an hour I had fingertips again!

Until then I was taking it song by song. Thinking I might have to pack up at any moment. But that focus held me in the moment; concentrating on each note, each nuance just to avoid thinking about how cold I was.  Every now and then I would think ‘Blimey! Is that me?’ As my voice rang out and sounded rather lovely (like I said, Newton Abbot has marvellous acoustics!).  I sang all my favourite songs, it’s a difficult choice because if I’m going to spend my time coming up with an arrangement, it’s got to be a song I don’t just like, I have to love it! I had a lovely time, I really enjoyed playing. By the time I got to ‘Love of My Life’ my fingers were starting to get cold and slow, and the damp air was deadening the guitar a little but I love playing it.  It still saddens me that Freddie is no longer with us.

I love playing on the street. The moment before I play and the street is awash with it’s own sounds it I wonder if I can play that first chord, I love watching people as I play.  Seeing them sing quietly to themselves as they walk past, and then that last note of the last song and it’s almost as if you were never there at all. Busking is so immediate and so temporary. I love it.



busking, music, street life

Keeping cosy!

It’s a lot warmer than it has been the last few days. Even so, I’m not going to be hoodwinked into breaking out my summer wardrobe! The trick to not being cold is not getting cold in the first place… no point putting on extra layers when you’re cold! However that’s easier said than done when you’re standing around on the street in the middle of winter! So that’s why I have 10 layers on and 3 pairs of leggings!

The last few times I’ve been out even that wasn’t enough, but I think 10 layers is about the limit… after that it doesn’t seem to make any difference!

When it’s cold the voice sometimes just disappears as the cold air hits the throat and the fingers slow down. Today is feeling positively balmy! Hurrah 😁


Blue sky-is that a whiff of spring

So I’ve dropped the girl off at school and it’s a lovely sunny day. So much milder than yesterday when I got so cold I started to forget the words to songs and my fingers stopped moving… time to stop!

I like town before I start playing, it’s emptiness, but that’s no good for busking so then I wait. Usually I have some knitting with me but I’m working on something a bit tricky which doesn’t lend itself to being shoved in a bag and worked on standing up.

I’ve got a few new songs I’d like to try; they’re almost ready so looking forward to that. But today is about just being out and playing just for the joy of it.

Time to put my frock and face on!