Saturday 3rd December, Hyde Park fountain, 15:50 -17:30
Taking advantage of a break in the crummy weather, I headed to Hyde Park. I had tried the Tunnel which was full but there were plenty of spots around the fountain near St Mary’s Cathedral and along the tree covered boulevard in the park. Looking for the right blend of sun and shade, a spot in the flow without being the centre of attention, I settled north of the fountain, out of its windy spray, with enough distance between me and an older busker who had set up along the path to the train station.
It was an open space, so projecting vocals was tough, made even more difficult than last time with a steady breeze blowing, sweeping my music away. As it was, I wasn’t feeling the vibe, not connecting with the people. Things didn’t improve when a wedding party turned up with horse and carriage to steal the show (though it was a fantastic day of sunshine for the newly weds).
The old fellow eventually called it a day and I deciding that it wouldn’t be quitting if I was to move from my poor position. No point in stubbornly bashing your head on a wall right? I thought I’d at least try a different wall. The old fellow had been sitting on one of the benches playing guitar with an amplifier. The spot was well placed to catch the people coming from St James train station plus there was a bench to sit on, so I thought I may as well borrow some of his wisdom and see if his spot in the sun would be more favourable.
Unlike my previous busking sessions, the sun shone over the city buildings rising to the west, over the path and over me and so I put on my sunglasses. The effect on me was surprising. The shades cut me off from the people and allowed me to pretend that it was just me and the guitar in the lazy afternoon sunshine. As I sat there I played only for me, played the songs I wanted to play without worrying about details like acoustics. It was like I was sitting on the brick fence at the bottom of my driveway, basking in the last of the day’s rays, playing just to play, singing just to sing.
There is a kind of freedom in that, a relaxation, when there is no need to perform, no effort to connect with the crowd. I’m not saying that shutting the window to people is right, after all, why go busking otherwise? Why even leave the house? But it was nice to play the way I play for me, to put feeling and soul into the music with no other agendas, no fear and no need to impress. That is the performance I want to let them see.
In the future I’ll see if I can’t play up to the crowd with some songs and let go and lose myself in others.
1.5 hours earnings: $3.55