Suffice it to say that basically, my licence lasts for a year then I can get it renewed if I meet all the requirements. The main requirement is to complete a certain amount of 2 hr slots in the year. Plus don’t do anything bad to immediately lose the licence (don’t commit a crime, for example). When I actually go to busk, I have to sign in and out so they can keep track of exactly who is in the station if there’s an emergency. I’m also supposed to book my slots in advance. I’ll talk more about how the booking system affects me in a future blog post.
What I've learned so far is, for certain spots at certain times I need to get myself booked in at the station office 15 minutes before my start time. That way I can ensure I can get down to my pitch and start on time. However, I’ve been having trouble with charging my tablet which has caused me some delay getting to my slots as the day goes on… I’ll explain more in my next post about equipment.
My perspective of the rules is that the people who organise busking in the underground just created a system and then they give each person the tools to navigate it. And it’s up to each individual to learn how to work the system as it applies to them. But that’s a good thing. Each person has to take responsibility for their own behaviour within the confines of the space that’s provided and it creates opportunities for people to flourish if they want to. I intend to keep doing my homework and flourish as much as possible. Also, because of it, I feel an element of security when I go down to London to busk in the underground that I don’t feel on the streets in other places. I know that when I go down, I have somewhere to be at a certain time and I’ll be warm, dry and safe. Does anybody else who busks in the underground feel the same way? Let me know in the comments below!
However, I have to say that bringing all my equipment down to London does take a lot of planning, and that’s what I’ll be talking about in my next post, so stay tuned!
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.