Lax, Stockholm, and Two Smoking Buskers, Day 3

There’s something yucky and scratchy in my throat, even though I’ve rested it for nearly two days. It feels like allergies but it’s not varying like those normally do. Just lingering and a nuisance. Another rubbish pitch tonight (6.27.10), have I run out of luck? If Helsinki is to be a measuring stick I do best on the first night and the last, but it’s hardly scientific to use a sample size of one. It’s a Sunday at the conclusion of Midsommar so I figured people would be lazing about and walking the streets. I guess not.

I set up on Drottninggatan near the crossing to Parliament island around 19:00. After a short pitch facing perpendicular to the street in the middle I moved to another pitch across from a nice cafe, after checking with the waitstaff. The first pitch was hard to manage with people going every which way. A bit overwhelming. One man starting dancing in a silly fashion behind me while I played I’m Yours as his girlfriend watched on, giggling. Needless to say, no tip.

The second pitch was much more comfortable. The money was no good but the audience showed their appreciation in glances and smiles – especially the waitstaff. They’d asked if I was any good before I started and I said I was alright. As soon as I started Sound of Silence both waiters looked up and smiled broadly at me, probably surprised by my voice. I think they also sensed how little I was earning and kept giving me kind, encouraging glances throughout the hour.

Again I had my things with me as I was between Cristophe’s and surfing with Pontus again. I’d hoped the cafe would be a good spot, what with a captive audience and a narrowing of the street. The cafegoers universally liked my music – no dirty looks, lots of nostalgic spacing out in my direction, lots of surprised and appreciative “oh”s. They stayed æeons at the place but when they left hardly any of them tipped me. Just this one German man after I’d finished, packed up and sat writing on the bench, saying “Thank you for the music” before rushing off to join his family. Of particular annoyance were two girls who I could tell were staying for my music. They had a reaction after every song, stayed long after their food was finished and only left once I’d tired and packed up, after which they left promptly. Surely this was no coincidence.

One man sang along to Let it Be as he passed and another sang along some minutes later to In My Life. The evening seems a good time for me as its an appropriate time for my generally slower fare. As ever, youngsters mocked me as I sang Hallelujah and Hello. Buggers. One nice young Swede sat down on hearing me, showing his appreciation in spades with smiles and by closing his eyes to listen while I sang Scarborough Fair and Ue Wo Muite Arukou. A small tip but I appreciated it – a small tip from a poor man who smiles at me is worth so much more than a large one from a sneering one. People stopped and seemed sent back into the past with Mrs. Robinson and Over the Rainbow, especially. And Falling Slowly again got impressed looks. A lot of children lingered but their parents were unusually tightfisted. All in all a rather dispiriting outing, especially as I felt I sang quite well.

Earnings: 78 SEK, 1.2 hours
Song of the Day: Somewhere Over the Rainbow – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

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