Lax, Stockholm, and Two Smoking Buskers, Day 4

It’s funny how thin skinned I am. How one nasty experience can mar an entire pitch.

I took up the pitch by the 7/11 once again today (6.28.10), hoping to replicate my results from the first day. Making sure to sing softer songs in the more comfortable bit of my range (never wandering above an E4, rarely above D4) I set up a mostly comfortable pitch to an increasingly appreciative audience. As the pitch wore on I got more happy looks and more tips, but people were generally tightfisted.

One guy leaned against a doorway across and to my left for more than half my set, having his friends stand and listen with him before departing without looking at me. Another young man sat himself on a step nearby with similar results. My tippers were once again 80% female, with quite a few taking notice when I sang I Will Follow You Into the Dark. One brace squealed, “That’s so sweet!” at each other.

But just as the pitch was starting to warm up and I was hoping to milk it for another half hour, disaster struck. It had been otherwise an average pitch with the usual successes and such but I could feel the place warming to me as the day grew longer and the sun started to etch into more of the street – an occasion I greeted with Here Comes the Sun, of course. People were smiling more, stopping more – by my second to last song, Mrs. Robinson, I had a small audience of seven or so – no tips but things were looking up.

A pair of very young musicians had passed earlier and I’d smiled and nodded at them as I always do when I see a fellow musicians. They kept their heads down and hurried on by. Moments later, halfway through a song, I heard a very loud, very badly played saxophone filling the street. There was no way I could be heard over that. Irritated and crestfallen I looked beseeching at my small audience, one forty something man saying “That’s extremely rude.” and echoed with anothers, “Bad form.” I’m afraid I took this opportunity to abuse them, and all no talent “performers” quite hotly – the saxophonist was playing halting, offtune scales with no sense of rhythm while his guitarist friend looked at him stupidly, hand slack on the top of his guitar. My audience comisserated with me briefly, I thanked them for that, they didnt tip me, and I strode up to the offending pair after packing up.

I told them off for a good two minutes. They looked terrified of me, saying they weren’t aware they were infringing on my space. I explained as kindly as I could in my rage that the saxophone is a very loud instrument and if you can hear me I can definitely hear you – especially as they’d set up not 15 meters down the street. I told them how things should be done – you ask for the pitch and I’ll be glad to give it to you in a few minutes. You make friends. You respect others, even if you don’t agree with their music. Etc. It didn’t make me feel any better, but reading a book in the Science Fiction store in silence afterwards did.


Nerd Paradise. The last, appropriately shitty photo my camera ever took.

Earnings: 66 SEK + €2.30, 1 hour
Song of the Day: I Will Follow You Into the Dark – Death Cab for Cutie

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