Sunday, 7 July 2013

Sax, Singing and Society

I busked for the first time on Saturday morning, playing my saxophone. I made £20 in 1 1/2-2 hours, which is more than twice minimum wage in England. I was lucky, of course; it was a bustling market morning and the sun was shining. Also the dark whisperings in my head tell me a lot of it was pity-money, but whatever, cash is cash. And that's another good thing about busking: provided you're not playing badly enough to be an annoying nuisance, enough people will pity the poor student and toss in a quid to make it worth your while (provided you have nothing better to do).

I was also lucky that a man decided give me a whole fiver in one. This is an aspect of busking that I hadn't considered: your glimpse your benefactors and then they are gone, most of them never to be seen again. I got an impression of this guy, though I don't remember his face. He was short and brusque-looking and had buzz-cut hair. He tossed me money and I tossed him a thank-you, finished my piece, glanced into my case and exclaimed after him,

'hey, thank you!' as I saw the note. He'd disappeared behind some other people and he didn't come back, but I think he was still close enough to hear me. Other passers-by who'd seen definitely heard, and they chuckled at my reaction.

'Ah, but that was the way he wanted it,' my mum said to me later, when I told her about the sadness of people giving money and vanishing. 'He decided to just anonymously brighten up your day. It was a Random Act of Kindness.'

Anyway, it appears that with just a saxophone (I spent all week writing accompaniments for myself, and then my CD player went into a sulk at the last moment. It meant I could wander all around my repertoire instead of playing the six pieces I'd prepared) I can make the difference between 'too poor to do anything this summer' and 'able to have fun this summer.' Good times!

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