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.