It’s kind of hard writing about this topic now when we’re not able to busk regularly like before. However, I’m using my notes from when I was travelling to London every week and busking regularly in the underground. I managed to capture the strong feelings I had at the time and I hope this information will come as a reminder of what to do once we are able to get out there regularly again.
I have to see a chiropractor occasionally, but I mostly mitigate any issues by doing specific stretches throughout the day. I often forget to take as many breaks as I should though (every 45 mins). It is very exhausting to have to concentrate for so many hours, not only on how you look as an entertainer but also on playing well. If you are too tired it can really show through your performance so there always comes a time when it’s just too much and it’s time to go home and go to bed, no matter how much income you’re missing out on!
When Do I Sleep?
I usually use my travel time as an opportunity to sleep. There just aren't enough hours in the night. Sometimes the most convenient time to fit in a much needed rest is while travelling. If I leave Lincoln in the morning, then I get a few hours in before I get to London where I immediately have to go to my first pitch usually. Then when I go home it’s usually in the evening after busking all day for the last couple of days, so I’m really ready to sleep then.
The cheapest mode of travel for me is the coach (National Express). Not the most comfortable thing in the world, but does the job. I worked out that you can get to the centre from Golder’s Green in the same time as from Victoria, so that saves me an hour on the coach at least.
Sleeping On The Coach Do’s and Don’ts
I’ve actually felt more comfortable sleeping on the coach than the train because I know the driver will shout for my stop and wait for me to get off because I have my trolley underneath. Very useful insurance policy for getting where I need to be!
Buskers Need Rest?
I sometimes hear from other buskers that other people don’t seem to understand why busking can be so tiring. Some people have the misconception that a busker just shows up on the street, performs for an hour or two, and then just gets to be lazy all the rest of the day. However, I’m here to say that busking is actually hard work.
I was grateful for the genuine rest the first lockdown afforded me. Now I’m ready to get back out there again and can’t! And don’t get me started on not being able to busk in the rest Europe anymore. Many opportunities lost with one decision. Sad times.
What About The Rest Of You Buskers?
I know some buskers still go out these days despite the cold and lockdown. What is your experience with energy levels and busking?
Serena Smith is an American British violinist and fiddle player. I play full time as a street musician in addition to the live gigs I perform with several bands.