Friday, December 28, 2012

Appeasing the Sales Gods.

My sister has lent me her fiddle. She's not using it much at the moment. It self identifies itself as an 1885 Guanieri, and I think it does a convincing job. It's slightly larger than a normal fiddle, but the increase in size seems to be only in the body of the instrument, meaning the neck is a pretty standard size. I have a bigger louder instrument that handles the same as my smaller quieter instrument. It also requires less energy to make a nice noise, signifying a doubling in my busking capabilities.

I can now rock up anywhere as noisy as or quieter than a four carriage road and be heard for at least three shop spaces and across the road. With the Guanieri the quality of the noise is deeper in tone and hence more emotionally stimulating, leading to a larger number of people to part with their cash. It also has more 'sustain', which I thought was something you only got with a really good electric guitar through an amplifier. My fiddle has sustain. Sustain lingers.

So I busked up a new television today. It was one hundred and nineteen pounds and I paid for it in two pound, once pound and fifty pence pieces. One and a half days work. 22 inch flat screen hd ready with freeview and a dvd player and pausable and shit. I turned it on and the first thing I saw was an advert for a better telly. It's great though. I've put it on my speaker stands stood next to each other. It's in the middle of the room. 

I've bought something in the sales. It is done. I have paid my high street tax, it's official, they even noted down my name and address. 

"I'm really sorry, I've got loads of coins."

"Ha ha! I hate coins!"

The poor woman joked as I reached inside my pocket for £119 in £2, £1 and 50p pieces. It took two shop assistants to count it. A queue formed behind me. Not my fault, shops should employ more shop assistants and pay them more money. 

The underground was closed, so I thought High Street Kensington would be empty. I played mostly traditional stuff, but I did a bit of work on some more classical sounding stuff too. I'm working on jazz, but that's very difficult to play unaccompanied on the street. I should have stayed longer, the money was coming in, but I got all excited and bought a flat screen.

Friday, December 14, 2012

So I'm blogging about busking now. I busk most days. Increasingly, I busk during the day, then go and play somewhere in the evening. More rehearsals than gigs, and not many paying gigs. In fact, no paying gigs coming up.

This makes me a largely pro-bono entertainer. I mentioned this to a community support officer the other day. He replied "But you've got your case open and there's money in it." and I said "Innit" and he said "That's what I've got a problem with. At best you're trading illegally and at worst you're begging." and I said "Do you walk around in fancy dress fighting crime for free?" and his mate, who was also a community support officer, kind of nodded sagely at this point. Then the one who had the problem continued 

I've personally got no problem with it, but I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't ask you to stop.

Well, your idea of what your job is seems to be different than that of your colleagues, I've had no trouble off them. They've been as good as gold and ignored me all morning. In fact, they've been ignoring me for the past two years.

I've never once seen you busking here.

You're unlucky then, I'm fantastic.

Do you live around here.

I'm not telling you that.

At this point there was a sharp intake of breath from the PCSOs. I didn't have to be like that, they were only being friendly and doing their jobs. I'd overstepped the mark there. Out came his book. "I'd like your name and address please." "You're not getting it."

They didn't get my name and address, but I did move on. I wasn't making much there anyway. I went down to an area of Westminster that is fantastic for busking. 

In fact, the whole of Westminster is fantastic for busking. Unfortunately, it's illegal there. This is why the violin is perfect as a busking instrument. It's register is higher than that of the traffic and other noises, so it cuts through and it is light and easy to get out and play quickly. I don't use a shoulder rest because they waste time. Also, people seem to like a bit of fiddle, even if you're as crap as I was when I first started. They give encouragement.

The benefits of having someone fiddling in your vicinity have recently been put to the test by Ealing Broadway shopping centre, who have me in twice a week for a two hour period. They haven't told me to bugger off yet.