The last time I did a request it was Danny Boy for a nice old woman in Fulham High Street. I've been asked a few times for others, but I did not oblige. Where does one start, for example, with the James Bond Theme? Or the Godfather Theme? I did the Pink Panther Theme for a bit, but it was just too rinkeydink for me in the end. Then a lovely bunch of kids ran up to me under South Kensington and went 'Can you play us a song please?' sort of all at once, but not at the same time. 'I don't normally do requests, but if it's one I can play I will oblige.'
TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE STAR!
All at once, but not quite at the same time.
I can play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. First song I ever learned. They were well chuffed when I played it. Their mum didn't give me any cash though. She didn't need to, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is a crowd pleaser.
Sometimes I play it as badly as possible. See how long I can keep it up for. It's a bit like going on strike. That's what you get if you're showing no love to the fiddler. One minute is probably the longest I've gone so far.
I've started playing a bit of Pachelbels Canon too. Had to learn it for a wedding (Technically making it a request.). It's a nice tune that everybody knows. Got lots of different passages that have been added over the years. I can never make my mind up which bit of it to play after the other, which is probably why I never play it for long. St Kilda Wedding was also a request for that wedding. Lots of vigorous bowing in that one, not good for the back when busked.
So yes, I do do requests, but not always.
Like the time I played a gig in a working mens club in bloody Ealing of all places and they requested all sorts of stuff that I have actively avoided listening too through the course of my life, then underpaid us in the end, after I'd showed the drunken arsehole who'd hired me how to work his own sound system.
Staggering over to us mid song and going 'Ooh, I think you've lost the crowd there...' then expecting us to just know how to play every song ever written by any really shite artist you'd care to mention.
Mind you, the average age of the audience was 80. Some of them were sitting there having a nice tap of the feet, but the In Crowd weren't happy. They came to dance to Daniel O'Donnell. The only dancing tune we had that came close was I'll Tell Me Ma. The rest were about stuff like James Connelly and lovely horses. (Did I mention that it was St Patricks night). So the drunk arsehole who hired us came over 'Lads, you should probably just call it a night, I'll pay you the full whack'. I started to pack up at that very moment.
He sent his wife out to pay us. She didn't pay the full whack. That was a while ago, but I've got a long memory. When I get a functioning busking amp I may just go back there and give them the full Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.