Monday, 20 August 2012

Farewells I: A farewell to busking

Today was my last busking day (probably). I got up early and was out there before 10:30, in my favourite spot by the Abbey / cheap sandwich shop.

Bath is very good to buskers: no licensing, very simple self-imposed rules, a currency whose denominations are such that you can go out to dinner on a handful of change, and lots of tourists with £s burning holes in their pockets. (Try busking in a country with a $1 bill— sheesh! To put it another way, the highest value coin in circulation in the USA is worth slightly less than 20p.)

I hoped to go out with a bang: the weather was predicted to be cloudy giving way to sunshine, with maybe some rain in the later afternoon. In other words, good but not too good. Too much brilliantly-sunshiney weather leads to every high school kid with a guitar parking outside the Banana Republic and playing "Lean on Me" until someone chases them off. I was sunscreened, becostumed, and had most of the Yann Tiersen / Satie / Mozart / Joplin moneymaking repertoire in my head and hands and fingers. (Even if the sustain pedal is still a bit dodgy on the ships' piano.)

Three locations and one piece of free chocolate later, I had made £126.58 and been asked to play at five weddings or other private events. (One of them is even before we move to London, so it might actually happen.) No real breaks— good thing I had some blueberries and Jersey milk on my cereal before I left. I pushed the piano back to the shop, walked home, and let Emma count the coins. (She loves that. Thankfully. 'Cause I don't. See? TEAMWORK.)

I'll miss busking— and it's definitely the most money I've made on an hourly basis in the UK— but there's not a lot of growth potential in it. I am looking forward to doing something a little more intellectually demanding next year. Although I'll probably never have another job where so many European teenagers, mums with prams, and posh old men make eyes at me.

And it'll be nice to have that piano back in the house.