busking, music, street life

Rain stops play!

An interesting day in town today busking. There were lots of buskers out which is weird as Saturday and Sunday there was hardly anyone. Anyway, the buskers at Russell and Bromley and The Face were having a ‘who has the loudest amp’ competition…. look if one turns up to 11 so does everyone else and it’s just a big ear-splitting mush. Just Stop!

Anyway, I set up after my husband and decided to give it a go. Kept to my usual volume but the quiet, gentle songs I usually start with were no good on a day like today, so straight in with the upbeat stuff, the low songs were transposed up a tone (hurrah for the capo!) and the Christmas songs (I only have 3) came out for an airing. I had 3 year olds dancing with old men, people singing along quietly to themselves as they passed by, people crossing the street to listen, kids waving at me from passing buses, ladies complimenting my skirt (gets more attention that me somedays!) and lots of serendipitous connections between strangers.

That’s what busking is about, that’s why I love it. And then it rained, and did it rain but I was in the middle of ‘I will survive’ and it seemed rude to stop mid song. By the end I had the taste of hairspray and stinging eyes but no Alice Cooper eye – Hurrah for waterproof make up. So I packed up and came home, still smiling from ear to ear. I love what I do!

busking, street life

Busking is being criminalised.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea use a PSPO (Public Space Protection Order) to prohibit busking in much of their borough. In doing so they have criminalised busking with fines of up to £1000. They’re seeking to extend the areas it covers. Once a PSPO is in place you have just 6 weeks to launch an appeal and it gets renewed every 3 years without any further consultation.

Their initial consultation for the PSPO was based on 413 responses to an online survey – that’s less than 0.2% of the population of the Borough. They made no attempt to consult with the wider public e.g. the people who listen to and enjoy the performers, nor the performers themselves.

If you like listening to street music, please make your thoughts known.

https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/environment/environmental-health/noise-and-nuisance/busking-consultations?fbclid=IwAR0K61OOTHGgKZCWn7d6whMq02v9E_BKgUKGFb_6D7Vg8CR4nONFpe3Q1rM

busking, guitar, learning, music, street life

Don’t wait ’til you’re ready

Ive been busking today in the glorious sunshine. I’ve been out a few times since the shops opened it’s still a bit quiet but the overall response has been positive. Locals have been coming up and saying it’s nice to hear ne again so that’s encouraging.

I’ve tried out my lockdown arrangements. I’m enjoying playing Death on Two Legs, Only You and 9-5.. Famous Last Words is in the wrong key for the High st as the lower vocals get lost in the general rumblings and noise of the street so I’ll have to revisit that one… not giving up on it yet. The Pretender, I’ve done once or twice but I’m not that comfortable yet and I’ve not yet played Rio on the street.

Then, at the end of lockdown I thought I’d have a go at The Greatest Show. It’s such a big song so I didn’t take it very seriously, just fiddled around with it. Then it started taking shape and I decided this week I’d go for it. I sang it today for the first time. It was a bit ragged if I’m honest, there’s a lot of words and the energy of the song just drags you along but I did it and I loved playing it.

The thing is, I never feel ready to play a new song , it’s always a leap of faith. Sometimes it works , sometimes not so much… I’m pleased with how today went.

So anyway I’m back home having a cup of tea… mmmmmm tea….

jinxed, Life, street life

Taking the old lady out

With my Martin being in the shop for a repair, I’ve been using some of my other guitars. Yes, I have other guitars, who just has one!

I borrowed my husband’s Martin but the jack plug wasn’t working so I went back to my 3/4 Takamini … I played this one when I first started busking. It’s a lovely guitar but it’s not my Martin. So, the last couple of days I’ve been using my Takamine EN30C … the guitar I bought when I was 17.

I traded in a Yamaha jumbo and my dad loaned me the money to buy it. It’s the guitar I busked with acoustically on Spui strasse in Amsterdam. I played it in various bands, at music college, in front of the muted TV ( one of my favourite things) …. I thought it would be to fragile to take out on the street.

Well I have loved playing it. It’s been like taking out an aged relative expecting cream teas and a bit of snooze only to find them drinking shots and dancing on the table. Such a wonderful guitar❣️

busking, Life, music, street life

what a day!

Yup, that’s a real life car number plate. I want it, on a day that started with realising I’ve lost my very expensive glasses, just before getting rained on (even tho the met office forgot to mention this until they looked out of their window and saw it had rain drops on it) oh and also saw me later on, still wearing my busking frilly skirt while chasing a mummy pig and her piglets down a road and then later out of our wood… Yeah living the f***ing dream. FML.

I’ve seriously had enough of today…. At bedtime my daughter, who was protesting that it wasn’t fair that she had to go to bed, was genuinely surprised when told her that actually being a grown up sucks quite a lot. That while you can choose to stay up late and eat whatever you want, the reality is that mostly you’re too tired and the cupboards are empty (of chocolate, crisps and cider) That the only good thing about being a grown up is that I couldn’t be her mummy if I wasn’t an adult and she’s the best thing ever and makes it all worth it; Yeah. Some days are like that. They suck. A lot. And just when you think you’ve reached peak suck-dom then something else throws itself your way (like your neighbours escaped pigs 🐖)

So now, in the relative quiet of our home, before phoning my husband who is away busking in Bath I can reflect. That actually I really enjoyed playing today, that that lady who took he trouble to cross the road to shout “Rubbish” at me as she walked past must be quite an unhappy person to feel the need to do that sort of crap, andthat I’ve had my fair share of 💩jobs in the past and I am forever grateful to be able to sing and play guitar and that some people like it and give me money. That the highlight of my busking day was when a blind man carefully found his way to my case to give me money. He said I made his day. He made mine too, I gave him a CD. Hope he enjoys it.

Yey! So jaded, yes… Worn out, yes but also grateful, blessed and humbled.