Today was so weird I just had to write about it. I went to Lincoln to busk this afternoon. The weather forecast said it was supposed to start raining about 2 pm. I planned to leave around noon and to get about an hour of playing in before it started to rain. I ended up having to wash my car before going out because there was dried bird poo all over the windscreen. This delayed me, so I knew I wouldn’t get there until about 13:20 but the weather looked ok so I went anyway.
At one stage she poured her coffee on her head, rubbed it in, and then kept dancing.
In the centre of town the South American pan pipers were playing, so I went further up the street and plopped myself down in front of House of Fraser. There were still a lot of people around so I thought it was going to be a pretty good day. Then while I started playing my first song (Nothing Else Matters – Metallica), a lady came by, left her bag on the ground in the middle of the path and started dancing.
I’d seen this lady before. I knew she wasn’t all there in the head if you know what I mean. She had danced to my music before and got herself a lot of attention. I remembered that last time she shouted at people who laughed at her. This caused people to want to stay away. I also couldn’t remember if this was the same lady that stole from me before. Either way I didn’t like her being there. It really put me on edge. And the way she was dancing was totally inappropriate for young children’s eyes.
She was wearing black yoga trousers, and a t-shirt that she had tied up to form a crop top. Her bare belly slightly drooped over her trousers. She started out with a sort of belly dance, then kept bending over and trying to twerk! The groups of teenage girls and teenage guys that happened to pass were laughing loudly at her. I kept changing the style of music, hoping that she’d give up and go away. It worked a little, when I played Irish tunes she tried to Irish dance! At least she wasn't as noticeable then. Hardly anyone was giving me money while she was there because they all had their phones out to take videos while they laughed at her. They weren’t listening to the music.
One guy said he was very entertained as he dropped a few coins in and asked if she was part of the act. I just said no, she’s some random woman that started dancing. At one stage she poured her coffee on her head, rubbed it in, and then kept dancing. She also lit a cigarette then started getting too close to me while dancing. I had to ask her to back away because I’m allergic to the smoke. Also I was worried for my safety because I didn’t know what she would do next. I was slightly worried that she’d start asking for some of my busking money. It’s happened before with some people and I have to quickly hide it all away when I tell them no.
She did move away a little when I asked but kept pointing her butt up at people while she danced. Sometimes she placed the cigarette on the floor so she could dance, and then she picked it up again to take a puff in between dances. I think there must’ve been about 100 videos and pictures taken today in that 20 mins-half hour. If I can track some of them down I’ll post them. I very nearly just stopped playing after a few songs, but luckily she stopped after a bit, thanked me and walked away. She did return after a while to dance some more but it was only for 1 or 2 songs then she disappeared again.
So after she left I started getting my regular flow of coins into my case. Then when I played Pachelbel’s canon, some guy came up to me and asked for some Mozart. I can play Eine Kliene Natchmusik but it’s been a long time since I’d practiced it. I turned off the backing and gave him a little sample (not exactly my best rendition, but don’t think many people noticed). He seemed to go into a bit of a trance while I played. Then I stopped (sort of abruptly) when I forgot the rest of the notes. He got very upset when I stopped. Then I just played another pop song with backing and he was shouting for Vivaldi and I ignored him.
After that he started asking for Beatles and Elvis Presley. Beatles are part of my repertoire anyway, so I played him some of that but not Elvis. Then later he asked for Michael Jackson. I’ve got a version of Billie Jean on my list, but I’ve never busked it and it’s been months since I practiced it. I listened to it unamplified and quietly plucked the notes and decided it would be alright to play. So then I plugged back in and played it properly. It’s kinda hard to follow on a small screen so I had to just improvise with about half of it. The music is on my tablet and I rest it on my bag on the ground so it’s kinda far away when you’re standing up. I don’t depend on looking at it very much at all when I’m playing normally. It just helps to see where I am sometimes. I was a bit unsure playing it, but someone actually filmed me. Wish I could’ve given a disclaimer that it was my first time performing that one lol. Lots of people liked it anyway, so I think I need to practice it and play it more often.
Anyway, eventually that guy walked away and came back and gave me a bottle of water. Only thing is he opened it before he gave it to me and I’m very wary of receiving opened drinks from strangers, even if it’s just water. Still it was a nice gesture. Plus he did give me some money as well.
Another thing that happened after I played Billie Jean was some guy gave me his e-mail address saying he is a filmmaker and said I should contact him if I want to make a video. I’m in the process of getting a video together so I can use it to apply for various things like cruise ships. However, it might be interesting to put some other sort of video together sometime in the future. Always interesting when different types of people film you. Don't think I'd meet him on my own though. Haven't seen any proof yet that he's definitely a filmmaker. Would definitely take a trusted friend with me!
Near the end of my stint, there was another guy that came up to me. He said the only change he had was 10p. Besides that he just had his debit cards. He didn’t want me to think he was insulting me with 10p because he said I was really good. He felt bad he didn’t have more money! It’s interesting to hear that some people worry I’ll be insulted by what they give me. It’s happened to me before when people apologise for giving me such little change. I’m always hopeful for more but thankful for whatever amount people can give me. Anyway, then I chatted to him for a bit because he wanted to know how long I’d been playing etc. (all the normal questions I get when I’m playing).
So I left just after 3 so I could get back home and start teaching at 4. The South Americans were still there when I was leaving. They must’ve had a long day. I got lucky with the rain because it didn’t start until I was on my way home. Not too many buskers, but lots of characters in Lincoln today!
I am a British American violinist and fiddle player. I play full time as a street musician in addition to the live gigs I perform with several bands.