Thursday, March 14, 2013

I stumbled across a half empty can of beer

on my carpet today. Just now. I'm drinking it as I blog. Happy and bad times busking. Managed to jiggle up £35 today in an hour and a half but, given the weather, should have gone out earlier and made three times that. 

I've been hitting High Street Kensington a bit too much. This is a patch I have busked now for two years consistently despite several stand offs with the police. The worst one was the first time. A community officer came up to me and asked me to move on, so I played every trick in the book on him because I was getting grief from an anaesthetist and needed to vent. Half an hour later 3 squad cars arrived and because none of us had a grasp of the law they had no option but to verbally abuse me out of the area.

Today two community officers walked past and gave me a smile and I had to smile back. I smiled at someone because they weren't being a tosser. 

Actually, he had a bit of a ginger beard sprouting, so that may be why I smiled at him. I probably noticed that before the uniform. 

You can hit High Street Kensington often though. It's one of those streets that's perfect for busking. The last time I got moved on from High Street Kensington the copper told me to go and busk in Kensington Gardens about a week ago. Bloody cold day with a bit of wind but sunny too. I parked myself on the main thouroughfare infront of what looked like a palace and fiddled up about £60 quid before the park manager came along and introduced herself. She didn't want me busking there because you're not allowed to do business in a Royal park. Unless you're royal of course, then you can charge people fifty fucking pence to empty their bladder after you've sold them a can of diuretics. 

I moved on without argument. She is the only person who gives a shit about preventing people from busking there. They don't believe in park wardens these days. Basically, I'm her Yogi Bear. I'll be back there, busking and making cash while she's busy doing boring park manager stuff.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Violin lessons.

Occasionally someone will come up to me when I' busking and ask me if I give violin lessons. This is the point where I ask them a few questions. Usually through the questioning stage they decide they/their child/aquaintance would not be served well by regular lessons from me. As a result, I have only given one paid lesson on the violin in my life. Some bloke came up to me when I was busking in Chelsea and gave me £10 to give him a cheeky lesson in the park. An ODP who'd shown me a few things in Ealing Hospital happened to be passing and the three of us retired to a bench beneath a shaded tree where my lesson consisted of me saying 'Just look on youtube mate, then listen and stuff, but hold it like this.'. 

I give out lots of free lessons. I particularly enjoy teaching 3-6 year olds because they hold a violin like a guitar. For me the only important lesson at that age is to respect the instrument and not drop it, which all of my pupils have so far passed. 

Today a young man who is playing guitar regularly on a Sunday in his church came up to me and asked me for lessons. This is a very good start if you want to play music. The weekly discipline of a public performance combined with the general focus of a congregation is good for a musician. I told him it's £20 a lesson and he told me he doesn't have a fiddle, so I told him it's £100 a fiddle, it'll be made of crap wood but it'll do you through a few things. Considering I'll have to spent £45 on strings for it and part with a decent tailpiece..... Then I gave him a free lesson on the street and he struck a decent F sharp on the E string double stopped with the open A under instruction. Asked to do it again, he would succeed. He really wants to learn it. 

So hopefully I may have found a pupil. On an ad hoc basis though. He's not gong to pass any grades with me as a teacher. I don't like grades. In music there are only performances and editing.