There is a lot of waiting around for buskers.
We swap over every hour so that each busker gets a turn, so if you want to play you’ve got to wait in the “queue” of other eager performers. During the summer there are usually 3-4 of us on pitch at once which can mean up to 4 hours waiting for your turn.
I’ve learnt that the only way to make a living doing this is to make good use of that down time and I spend it doing admin, updating my website, writing blogs (like this one, currently waiting for my 3.15-4.15 set on the Southbank!) and writing songs.
Last year I was on a busking break writing a sad, slow song about heartbreak. I was looking down at my guitar in a world of my own, when an unexpected voice interrupted my melodic daydreaming.
“Hey, sorry to bother you, do you know what the time is?”
I looked up in surprise into a pair of crystal blue eyes. An extraordinarily handsome man with messy ginger hair and an amused smile stood before me, waiting for a response.
I started smiling, wondering why he didn’t just ask Big Ben for the time and hoping perhaps he didn’t really want to know the time at all but just wanted an excuse to talk to me! Perhaps he spotted me here, writing songs from the depths of my soul and he thought “I must speak to that beautiful girl!” I started to imagine what my mum might think of this handsome man (my new boyfriend!) when I took him home to meet her. We’d have beautiful children, I’m sure of it! What a wonderful love story this will be when I tell them all about it…
His smile started to fade as the uncomfortable pause got longer and I realised that he did, very much, want to know what the time was.
Quick, I thought, how do you tell the time? I looked at my bare wrist in vain. I started patting around me on the floor for my phone to give him an answer. I stood up, triumphantly.
“It’s ten past one!” I said with confidence.
“Thanks a lot!” he said. He smiled politely and walked swiftly away.
I slumped back down next to my guitar, my face a little hot from pure embarrassment. I looked at my phone again trying to distract myself from the utter shambles I’d made of a perfectly simple interaction. It was ten past two.
Then I did the only thing I could do in this situation. I wrote a song about it.
It’s called Hello & Hi and I will be releasing it on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon Music on Thursday 17th of August!
Come see my band play live at the launch gig!
Thursday 17th of August
Tooting Tram & Social
8pm – John Clapper
8.30 – Lucy May Walker
9.15 – Charlotte Campbell + band