Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I'm off for a busk in Shepherds Bush tonight.

This is what happened last time I was there in mid December:

I pissed off a Copper tonight. He looked like he wanted to hit me. His lower lip was wobbling. He said "I've never been spoken to like that in all of my life." And then I said " Wa Wa Wa, I'm a community support officer and I've got nothing better to do than harass popular local buskers because I've got a massive inferiority complex mwa mwa Wa Wa Wa." And he looked like he wanted to hit me even more so I said "Look at you! Properly squaring up to me. Oh my god, that's so aggressive, you seriously need to work on your body language." And he was all "you don't know me." because he wanted me to like him while he was moving me away from my spot.

So I'm a little bit nervous to tell you the truth. The second time you see one after you've pissed them off things can get a little hairy. I really pissed this copper off. He was with an attractive young female officer who he felt protective of and was clearly trying to impress. Maybe when they strolled up to me to stop the music, they felt a slight thrill. 

Sometimes when I'm really pissing an officer off, I get lent a hand. This time an old black guy in a fedora came up as I was saying "No, I'm not going to give you my details." and said "Don't worry, I'm your independent legal advisor." the copper ignored him and said "Why aren't you going to give me your details?"

"Because, and I'm sure my independent legal advisor will back me up on this, I don't have to." then fedora bloke goes "Why are you bothering him anyway?"

"Because he's committing a crime."

"He's not, he's playing music."

It's one of my favorite busking spots too. Shepherds Bush Market tube station under the bridge and facing the market. Most of the time my fiddle is drowned out by the traffic or the Hammersmith and City line overhead, but when the traffic settles the acoustics are lovely. The flower stall over the road has a woman who often comes over and says "beautiful, beautiful." in a lovely sort of Eastern European accent before dropping a bit of cash in. There are loads of youngsters about who sometimes have a jig and sometimes come and ask for a go on me fiddle. The occasional drunk. One or twice people have come up to me when I'm smoking a fag and just started singing. 

There's a cold Northerly wind blowing tonight, I need to make £20 at least before my rehearsal with 'Firefay' who rehearse in the Bush studios, literally just around the corner from my spot, which is shaded from cold Northerly winds by the bridge and Shepherds Bush Market. The only thing standing in my way is if that copper has a shift today or not. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Karma is Bagpipe shaped.

'I had a chat with that singer down the road, I'm going to wait a bit before starting so I don't drown her out.'

Bagpipe players are considerate like this, they know how loud they are and are used to getting moved on. 

The first I heard from the singer was when I'd just gotten into my swing for the second time outside Harrods. The first time I got into my swing, my d string broke. I was a bit pissed off because I didn't have a spare, so I went down to Kensington Chimes and coughed up £12.95 for a D'adderio Helicore. I was pissed off because the d string shouldn't break often and that one had only been on a month. 

So I'm back outside Harrods and I've had a pint and a chat with a pervert. I joined him when he spotted me, can in hand, as I was walking past the cafe. Latte, steel chair and table painted red.

'So, do you think a nurse would do that for me?'

'This one wouldn't.'

A PCSO wafted past, paused, pointed at my can, wagged his finger and wafted on.

No sign of the 'mildly anti beer on the street cop' and I've made my excuses and I'm into my swing and my fiddles started to get louder because I've started to get used to things (Took me about 45 mins with the new string.). So it's time for a fag, but not before playing another one. I played another one, took a breath, put me fiddle down and before I reached in my pocket I heard a sound behind me.

It was an amplified opera singer with a backing track. On any occasion, in isolation, a pleasant thing. Not a pleasant thing when pitched at close range against my playing though. She was too close and she knew it. Her volume edged up as I was rolling my cigarette. So much so infact that I rolled it, lit it, took one puff, laid it delicately on the edge of my case, pcked up me fiddle and played my bottom off. It can't have been pleasant, but it was loud and rhythmic.

Dueling buskers. I was losing, but only because she was amplified. Then the bagpipe player turned up. We'd had a chat earlier and he said he would come back at eight o'clock, which is when I told him I was planning on finishing. I'd just about made enough by half seven, but decided to keep going.

'Fuck it.' I said, 'She wasn't worried about drowning me out. Drown her out.'

And that's precisely what he did.

Monday, January 7, 2013

So I was busking in Chelsea the other day...

and this police community support officer comes up to me and says;

'Did you have a good Christmas?'

and I said

'Yes thanks, I did, and I also had a happy new year. How were yours?'

'Mine were good thanks, I can't remember what you said your name was last time we met...'

Her hand flicked slightly towards her notebook pocket. Her game was up!

'That's because I didn't tell you my name.'

She smiled and reached inside her top pocket for her notebook.

'So did you see any family over Christmas?'

'Yes, I had a lovely time in Liverpool at my sisters', then we went and visited my girlfriends' sister, then we came back down to London. There was a terrible crash on the M6. Makes you think really. I'm not going to give you my name.'

I was looking deep into her eyes as I said it, just to make sure she was paying attention.

'Oh, ok then, have fun...' she said and strolled off down the street with her mate. Happy as Larry, not at all bothered by the busker with no name. Then Kurt and his Gran came up and said 'Hi Matt.' and we had a nice chat and Kurts' Gran gave me a worthers original. She gave me murray mints the last time I saw her, so it was a nice surprise.