Buskitecture in Helsinki, Day 1

The pitches today may have been indicative of what busking will be like from now on. Very, very schizophrenic. And entirely dependent on sunshine. I started the day off in the middle of Esplanadi Park, at around 10AM. I gave up after a half hour – no one so much as looked at me. It was rather overcast and the day had a dreary feel, and I decided to have a go on the actual street. I set up on Aleksanderinkatu, the eastern end of it, and promptly got 1.3 euro in an hour. At this point I was very very low in spirits. I decided to rest a touch and wandered up and down the street a bit.

Further west I ran into a fellow busker, whose name I’m not sure of but I think is Cathal. He was playing classical guitar on the side streets and I asked him how he was faring – similarly rotten luck as myself. Ironically, that made me feel better.

With a little more optimism, I took a visit to the church at Senate Square, the symbol of Helsinki, sat peacefully and prayed a little, then set up a pitch on the square itself. There was a operatic tenor there in the morning doing fairly well, so I figured I’d see how it went even though it looked unlikely – small amount of traffic, huge area for the sound to get lost in, etc. The sun came out as I left the church and voila, just like that my fortunes flip flopped. Again it was the oldies that got me noticed. One middle aged man sang along to Somewhere Over the Rainbow (though he knew the original and I was singing the Israel Kamakawiwo’ole version, but no matter). The first tip came from a 20something woman – a 2 euro tip, more than I’d made all day – and that gave me tons of energy. It flowed after that. It’s funny how energy works. It makes me think perhaps I need to take some quiet time and pray before each pitch, perhaps.

Zebra busking at Senaatintori

Earnings: €23.30, 2.5 hours
Song of the Day: Somewhere Over the Rainbow – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

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