“Are you ready yet?”
I turn to Captain Jack Sparrow as I pick up my guitar case. He shakes his head and gestures that he’ll finish his eyeliner first.
“Ok see you down there!” I shout as I make my way towards the Southbank, accompanied by a chatty magician and the lady made of gold.
When I arrive I’m greeted with two air kisses from Charlie Chaplin, a big cuddle from The Queen’s Guard and an impromptu dance with a lawyer who moonlights on the electronic saxophone.
Or as I call it, Monday.
The London street performing circuit is a community. A lot of us know each other, we look after each other and support each other.
It comes as surprise to many that a lot of street artists are full timers. We don’t do it on the side of another job or in between studying. We chose this as a career and we do it 5 or more days a week. The pitch is our office and the other performers are our colleagues.
At first, the only things we share are our slightly eccentric life choices and arbitrary performing locations. But as time goes on, we see each other every day and relationships develop; we share stories and jokes and ideas and sometimes our lunches.
There is the odd fall-out, controversy or scandal; there are cliques and hierarchies and rivalries. But in general, we get along pretty well and we understand and rely on each other. We are loyal, strong and positive, it is a wonderful community to be part of.
I’m so grateful for the friendships I have found in the street performing world. They have changed me as a person, taught me how to make a living from the thing I love and shown me the beauty of trusting everyone you meet.