The smart car and me, on a day out

People often say to me that I must have a lot of confidence to go busking. I think to an extent you have to be quite confident but it’s really only the first step, the decision to get up and go, that’s the hardest – once you’re there you don’t worry about it so much.

I have been putting off busking for a while for some reason, perhaps because my last trip was so unsuccessful money-wise and, though it’s not really about the money, that diminishes your faith in yourself a little sometimes. But today there was a break in the clouds and the weather forecast said rain for the rest of the week and I knew it was now or… well… or not for a while.

And today turned out to be everything a day of busking should be, and I’m now so glad that I decided to go out. Stories, music, laughter… there are so many funny things that have happened since I began busking just over a year ago, I wish I could share them all! If, like me, you love to hear snippets of lives and tune into something that inspires people, you would love busking.

Of course, having a red, convertible smart car does, for a start, make you want to go out when the sun shines. Today I had the roof down and the Amélie soundtrack on full blast all the way. I can’t quite tell you what this music does to me, but it seems that I have found the music that reaches into my soul and winds up a dream generator and suddenly nothing seems impossible and everything seems beautiful. It was a good start to the day.

Cirencester is a great place to busk, which is something I probably ought to keep a secret! Unfortunately I was out of practise so couldn’t play for too long, but I earned £20 which is nothing to sniff at (especially when you don’t have a summer job!) and more inspiringly so many people, young and old, came up to me especially to tell me how much they loved my playing. Perhaps I haven’t mentioned – but my instrument is a lovely Yamaha clarinet, and it plays all my favourite, slightly improvised jazz standards with me. People just love to hear something a bit different I think, a little old-fashioned even.

In fact, many of my ‘fans’ are an older generation for whom jazz standards hold memories and nostalgia. However, one such gentleman today was so old and frail that he really shouldn’t have been trying to bend down to give me money as he ended up toppling towards me over his walking stick, sending the music flying, money tumbling and me trying desperately to put him back on his feet and feeling awful that something might have happened to him! After such moments, I think I expect everyone in the street to start shouting ‘Shame on you for robbing an old man of his money!’ but then again, I know that these are the people that the music means most to, just as when a child comes up and gives me 1p from their purse I know it really means something. A big group of disabled children also came up and listened today and gave me a wonderful round of applause afterwards. Then there are the smiles, the people who can name the tune, the dogs’ hilarious reactions and familiar faces who heard me busk a year ago.

Nice work if you can get it. 😉

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