“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.

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4 thoughts on “Community

  1. Summed up beautifully, Charlotte.
    After my real career little did I know I’d spend a lot of time on the Southbank getting to know the street performers and realising just how hard-working and wonderful they are.
    And it all started when I clicked on Londonist on Facebook and was stunned by this lovely flaxen haired girl singing about the streets of London. Since then I’ve got to know Scott, Charlie, Jazz and others, including of course, the ubiquitous Keith. All brilliant people, all talented in their own way.
    And Queen of the Southbank? Charlotte Campbell of course!

    Like

    1. Although I live in Cambridge I now look to any opportunity I have to get down to London. Not for night life, shopping or to be a tourist, although I do some of that, but to stroll along the Southbank, in all honesty to see Charlotte.
      One afternoon last month I was completely taken in by her wonderful voice and lovely songs penned by herself !
      Thank you young lady, your music on the streets of London is now music in my heart 👍

      Like

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