Copping out in Copenhagen (København), Day 1

Sleeping in cold airports seemed to have sickened me and I took 7.23.10 as a rest day – essentially a lot of coughing and a lot of water intake. It didn’t get any better the following day so instead I took a nice 11km walk about the town, looking for potential pitches and the like. I wanted to avoid Strøget if at all possible. One thing that struck me was how the prevalence of biking might affect things. Everyone bikes in København. Everyone. The pedestrian tunnels are thus frequented mostly by runners and cyclists. The pedestrian streets outside of the walking streets downtown see mostly bikers and fewer walkers. Cyclists don’t tip (I mean, it’d be rather difficult, eh?). On my way back I popped by Daria and Maria’s flat but no one was in besides Charles.

A mural by the lakes of the lakes. Massive swans!

I returned to what looked to be the most promising location at Blågårdsgade in Nørrebro (7.25.10). Just before I started, Charles emerged from the facing Har Bo café, and that gave me just the right spurt of energy to begin. I sang pretty well but only lasted about forty five minutes before I had to call it quits. My throat wasn’t improving but I’d gone out because I needed the money. The passersby where mostly younger folk of all sorts of different ethnicities, so I started with nineties tunes. The greengrocers across the way gave me big thumbs up and wide smiles. A young man in yellow plaid tipped me with a thank you for Yellow. A beaming brunette bent down to tip for High & Dry. All sorts of passersby found Torn hilarious.

Charles re-emerged and complimented my singing. I endured a short dry spell but that ended with Let it Be – lots of sing-a-longs and multiple tips. A little black boy on a bike began to linger in front of me, doing loops on the street and watching me curiously. I even had the courage to try Libertà, to good acclaim and Ue Wo Muite Arukou. A Japanese lady passed fortuitously then, but didn’t tip. I tried Hallelujah but hadn’t the necessary voice – halfway through a man in the grocery burped and I had a hard time supressing a laugh. By the time I ended with Mrs. Robinson I had hardly any voice, and I was grateful for the shy girl who tipped me then – sometimes I make a determination to keep singing till one more tip, and this one couldn’t have been more opportune.


But the best tip came from an ancient couple. The husband was pushing his wife in a wheelchair, back bent and shuffling slowly down the street while cyclists whizzed by. They slowed (almost imperceptibly) as they passed me right to left and the man smiled at me. That would have been encouragement enough and I beamed at him. A few songs later, though, they returned the other way, inching towards my case. First the man smiled at me once more before dropping me a silver coin. Then the sweetest thing. He slowly crept his hand to his wife, who shakingly took another set of silver from him and sort of released them in a small jerk into my case. The corners of her lips tugged upwards just a hint – her expression had been completely fixed heretofore, as if she’d lost most of the control over those muscles. As they hobbled slowly on I put as much feeling as I could into my music, and I hope that was gratitude enough.

Happily, Charles treated me to a honey ginger tea inside the café and I’m hoping that repaired most of the assault on my vocal chords.

Earnings: 82.5 DKK + €2, 45 minutes
Song of the Day: High & Dry – Radiohead

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