Oh So Slow in Oslo, Day 2

Im currently trying to write out the experiences I had in the weekend prior to my return to Oslo but Im finding it very wearying to even relive it all. It will appear at some point, of course, but it may not be for the faint of heart. To assuage the dearth of postings and the fact that ill be completely off the grid for the next week Ill quickly type up as many of what are feeling sadly formulaic (tell me if they are) posts as I can in the next few hours.

I had a short go at a promising pitch in the main tourist attraction in Oslo – Vigelandsparken, but was moved on after only a few songs. Essentially today (7.5.10) was an even more thoroughly depressing confirmation of Oslo’s stinginess. Last night when I checked into the hostel and I offhandly mentioned this to the girl working the desk, however, I learnt the reason behind the pittances I amass. She told me no one gives money to foreign buskers because most of them are organized – this is something Ive noticed walking about at night, as all the statues commune and give their earnings to some bosslike guy, muttering away in Romanian.

This revelation has me very incensed. First off, the Romanian buskers I’ve seen strewn about the city are universally horrid. They slump about with obnoxiously loud instruments, playing the Theme from the Godfather over and over with no sense of cadence or really any semblance of musicality at the best spots for hours and hours on end. So beyond giving busking a bad name, beyond being eye and ear sores, they also shut down us other buskers. Pisses the hell out of me. And I havent even started on about the living statues – in Oslo they all wear masks and full suits – and they dont even stand still successfully. They make a killing. I should stop ranting here.

I had one good experience. A nice, weathered looking man in his late twenties – burnt skin, kindness wrinkles already forming, shockingly blond, longish hair – stayed for the entirety of Hey Ya, smiling appreciatively and came up to me at the end with a kroner and a “nice song.”

The main problem is that I know people like my music. I got tons of applause today during my short pitch. One young mother and her child at the start of my set lingered near and applauded each song for a good three or four songs before waddling off, looking happy, no tip. Two men walking in opposite directions stopped abruptly on hearing Mrs. Robinson, raised their eyebrows in a “Whoa, he’s actually good” sort of way at each other, stayed till the end and clapped heartily. And if yesterday the filming was annoying, today it was practically unbearable. Its gotten so that I can generallly identify the reaction from the look of the group. Groups of boys laugh derisively, mock me or roll their eyes when they pass. Girls will giggle, point, look at each other and “sneak” peeks back after theyre past. Asian tourists will stop and chatter loudly to each other, smile surprisedly, retrive enormous cameras and snap endless photos. Young parents will dance with their kids (on their shoulders or holding their hands on the street) and stay for a long time. Older males will linger at my peripheral and often videotape me on point and shoots. Older women will cast me kind glances. But one thing they have in common. Tight fists.

Earnings: 54.4 NOK, 1 hour
Song of the Day: Hey Ya – Outkast

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