I stepped off the plane and headed straight for the city center, to the Old Town, Gamla Stan, on Västerlånggatan, that was a lot of apostrophes, to set up a pitch. After walking up and down the street a bit, I chose a nice spot across from a small garment/fur store, near a seven eleven. Id popped into this “Records in a Hurry” shop, where the owner happily told me – “What laws?” Today (6.22.10) I noticed more than ever that the vast majority of those who take an interest in me – be it a tip or a smile – are female. Four separate girls that I remember passed back and forth multiple times. They probably thought i didnt remember their faces, but since I endeavor to make eye contact as much as possible, naturally I did.
One asian girl in black (I would find out later that she works as a waitress on a side street very near) passed me 4 or 5 times, sheepishly tipping with a shy but wide smile on one of the later goes. A girl in green with frizzy hair wandered past three times, curiously each time in the middle of a song, and of the last two, one – middle eastern in appearance, wearing a light cardiga – sang along with an oh my god hes playing all my favorite songs expression the third time she passed, when I was starting Hallelujah.
It was also a day for Japanese tourist unfail. A pair of them passed as I paused for a sip and asked if I was Japanese. I demurred, but launched into Ue Wo Muite Arukou. They stood and listened the whole time, smiled, and gave me a note! The two of them tipped one order of magnitude over those twenty five or so in Helsinki. Nice. One of my earlier songs – Better Together, was really well received, at least in expression, and that buoyed me to maintain my energy. Falling Slowly again did very well, and those sustained me even through till the end, when a few middle aged guys stayed for a looong while without ever tipping.
But my favorite experience of the pitch was while I sang Scarborough Fair. Many took notice – I sang it slow and with feeling – and most people gave me something. One wonderful lady with two small children mouthed along for the entire song, then told her charges to stay watching me while she ducked into the seven eleven… so she could get coins to give me! Which she did after another song, beaming. I took advantage of the narrow streets good accoustics to sing my slower, quieter stuff – Fox in the Snow, Flightless Bird, American Mouth, Hey There Delilah – all well recieved. A great pitch filled with thumbs ups and smmiles and singing along, with not a single downer.
On another note, I wonder how the tips might have been if Sweden was on the Euro. Theres a lot of random psychology that contributes to tipping – for instance I think people are loath to give bills and tend to give the coin thats physically largest if they like you – which in Sweden is the 5 kroner, while the 10 kroner is tiny. And 20 kroner is a bill. Just a thought that if the Euro was the way, Id have made a killing.
Earnings: 236 SEK, 1.5 hours
Song of the Day: Scarborough Fair – Simon & Garfunkel
2 thoughts on “Lax, Stockholm, and Two Smoking Buskers, Day 1”
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oh my goodness, terrence, wow! i am rapt– the first time ive looked at your blog (been away from the internet), but im going to start reading every day to see how youre doing. its so funny to read your writing instead of hear it. miss you, be safekimmie