You might know the story of the poor widow who gave two coins, all she had, to the temple offering and how Jesus said she had given more than all the other rich folk. I experienced the truth of that first hand today (7.10.10). I headed straight for the tunnel, once again, but found it occupied by a kind middle aged singer in a beret, who had a nice chat with me and suggested I try Marken, a small pedestrian street leading from the train station as he was going to stay till two thirty and a Romanian guy was taking over from then untill five.
The day was uncharacteristically bright for Bergen, and my passersby and tippers were also non-standard: they were mostly young men. I started with House of God, Forever, keeping it slow and calm before moving on to Gotta Have You. In the middle of the first chorus, a scraggly looking young man – homeless yet strikingly handsome – emerged from the small side street across from my pitch, eyes shining with his hand over the strange ruglike shawl he wore, over his heart. I dont know quite how to convey the depth of emotion that came from his eyes – I could hardly stand to look at them for fear of crying, myself. He stood there, one foot halfway in the alley from where he’d emerged and put his hands together, almost like a prayer, telling me “It’s Beautiful.” He stayed for the rest of the song, indicated with his hand and facial expressions how much he wished he could tip me, bowed a few times, blew me a kiss, replaced his hand on his heart and whirled away at the last chorus.
After that, I felt, it didnt matter what other experiences or what tips came my way. He affected me profoundly. Two other times that pitch, distinctly homeless looking young men came by and tipped me – clutching their bags full of retrieved plastic bottles in their other hands or stratching absently at their long unshaven faces. Maybe it was the sun, maybe it was my prayer, but whatever it was the pitch was marked by such kindness. A woman dragging her luggage behind her upon the cobblestones lifted it and smiled at me upon hearing me so as not to disturb the sound. A mother with two young boys stayed a while and promised me she’d return before ducking into a store for change, which she sent back with her running youngsters. A redheaded waitress in white sat outside with a book while the business was slow and cast me smiles.
I took a long rest afterwards in wait of the free five o’clock spot in the tunnel. It was a windier night than previously, and just like Phelps Gate at Yale this tunnel channeled wind quite effectively, so I lasted only forty five minutes before decided I ought to stop freezing my ass off. At the beginning of my pitch a shop worker came and asked if I was registered and took me on my word that I was. Such Great Heights went wonderfully this time, it was the fourth song I sang after some more melancholy ones and I hit my stride with it.
A lot of young men tipped me here also. One of these was the one who’d passed endlessly the previous day. That made me very very happy. Another told me “Keep it up, mate” as I sang Crazy. A girl I’d peg at my age seemed surprised and blushed when I smiled back at her and a few minutes later came dashing back, breathlessly, with a tip and a very wide smile. One woman asked me for my information, which I found utterly flattering – she’d seen me earlier at Marken and asked in a way that suggested – where did you come from and where can I hear more? The only amusing almost negative part was when a businesswoman passed me, stopped to turn on a recorder or something on her phone and held it behind her, back towards me but recorder very obviously in my direction while I sang Let it Be before departing briskly on the conclusion of the song. Quite funny really.
Earnings: 377.5 NOK, 2.4 hours
Song of the Day: Gotta Have You – The Weepies