Copping Out in Copenhagen (København), Day 7

Finally! I’ve been waiting for this day (8.2.10) for a long time – the day when the Song of the Day is…. the Mario Kart Love Song! It’s no secret how fond I am of this song, and I often start with it. Even I almost got sick of it today.

Back to Blågårdsgade once again, where I was able to fit in two pitches on either end of a nice rest. I began the first in the early evening with many of the same familiar characters on the street around me, all smiling encouragingly – it was like I’d become part of the street, one of the businesses, even. The worker from the other day chatted happily opposite with me with a woman and her child. The barber in the window opposite and his client observed me the whole first pitch and absolutely loved it. One guy who’d passed me many times on his bike tossed me a twenty this time, even though I was at that moment engaged showing my list to some cafe goers. Even the young grocer, despite no English, requested a song with the help of his friend (There She Goes) and tipped me handsomely. His coworker, who’d looked at me suspiciously on the first day tipped me well, also, with a big smile before returning to tend to the veggies.

Rain began to fail shortly after I began but I was in such a good mood that I decided to go on regardless. I backed up to find shelter under (inside, really) a tree, squished up against it with the case right at my feet. I thought High & Dry appropriate and a girl at the cafe agreed with a smile and a thumbs up. One man passing by told me he thought what I was doing was awesome and asked if he could get a video of me singing Crazy: I’d sung it earlier but I obliged anyways, as his other option was Don’t Speak. His tip was very small but the words meant more. The rain started falling thicker so I hid inside a seldom used doorway for shelter, still singing obstinately. A girl ducked into some shelter across the way and watched me sing. At this point the moisture was beginning to get to me and the guitar and both started veering out of tune (though not so badly I thought) and with a lackluster Mrs. Robinson I finished up.

The girl across the way approached as I began to pack up. As I set my guitar down, the low E-string broke (why does that seem to happen on good days?) and I was loathe to pack up entirely as the inside of the case was very, very damp. The girl tipped me a two kroner and apologized profusely she couldn’t tip more, but we struck up a conversation and she ended up buying me a honey ginger tea in Har Bo Cafe, where we chatted by my open case for over an hour. Dorian, a tall redheaded girl in an oversized T-shirt and smelling strongly of sweat, studies art in the Netherlands (Amsterdam), gave me pointers for photography… it was fun, though sometimes off putting – she seemed keen to undercut some comments. She told me I was out of tune and she liked more that I looked cute singing in the rain inside the tree, or odd comments about art etc. Sort of an honesty that lacked some tact – something Paul accuses me of often.

Once Dorian sends me the photo, it’ll go here!

Dorian left and the rain finally died. I had an hour and forty minutes before I was to meet Cameron at his flat, so I figured I’d fill it with another pitch. Maybe it was the spontaneousness, or the fact that I had this one just for fun but I was rewarded with my best Copenhagen session. Just as I began a young man on a bike who’d passed often slowed before me and I engaged him happily, giving him my list. He requests Re: Stacks and Crazy – the first I couldn’t oblige but I sang Crazy, which would have been the song of the day had he not returned after fetching some beers, one of which he gave me along with a generous coin tip. I sang him Flume as a consolation Bon Iver tune.

His friends began to gather with him and they took some crates to sit upon just to my right and in front of me. One wondered if I should hide the gold pieces to increase my income, and when I mentioned how difficult it’d been busking recently, he responded, “In Denmark? Ha, I’m sure.” . Dusk brought the fabulous purple sky that was still bright enough to see by but dim enough to feel magical. Jacob (the climber I stayed with, my good friend) happened to walk up then – he was meeting some friends on Blågårdsgade and asked me to move further down to the square. Coincidentally I was finishing up Hey Ya when he showed up, the song he liked best of mine. I decided to sing a couple more tunes before moving down, even feeling game enough to muddle through Don’t Speak. I took a request from each of his three friends and they each tipped me as they could.

I packed up to move down to the square but Jacob met me just as I started walking – he and his friends decided to come sit near me – I could entertain both parties! They took seats at Har Bo Cafe (see how I help the patronage of the places I sing near? direct example, hah!) and I returned to the pitch. Now the original man, clad in a blue track jacket with bits of leaves in the back of his dirty blonde hair enthusiastically pre-empted all the others with a request of the Mario Kart Love Song: the song I was singing when he first passed me by over a week ago. He even turned it into a call and response deal, echoing me after:

“To the mushroom cup (To the mushroom cup!)
And the flower cup (And the flower cup)
And the star cup (And the star cup)
And the reverse cup (And the reverse cup)…”

His friends loved it. They immediately requested it again, making a game, saying: “Hey, I just saw this great song on this list. It’s so cool you know it. Can you play the Mario Kart Love Song?” “Look! *nudge* He knows the Mario Kart Love song! Play it!” “Whoa I just saw this song…” etc. In order not to annoy the cafe goers too much I interspersed it with some other tunes (one guy more seriously requested Scarborough Fair), but inevitably I played it two more times. Two of their female friends then joined us while I sang Road Trippin’ and one of them curiously insisted on the Mario Kart Love Song, too. Hell, why not.

The whole street was hopping with the soft light and the cheery music and the twenty somethings enjoying themselves near me. A pair of girls happily watched from the steps of the now closed barber’s shop. I noticed the same old man who shook my hand back at the same chair, the same cyclists passing by, a nice elderly lady… The grocers all stood outside smiling and chatting at the edge of their stand, facing me. Cafe goers oriented their seats (or turned about or their benches) to focus on me…. I hardly got tipped – people on Blågårdsgade are of the poorer lot and many patted their pockets with a regretful expression to demonstrate this, but I felt fine about it.

After I obliged the other girls’ request of The Blower’s Daughter I checked ‘my’ watch to find out just how time had slipped – it was already nearly time for me to be at Cameron’s and I was still over a kilometer away! My audience had me sing the Mario Kart Love Song once more, all of them joining in on the chorus and on the call and response (which I doubled, for shits and giggles). A pity I had to leave then as two of the guys had been discussing bringing down a ukelele and a violin to jam with me, but I did need a bed.

Earnings: 149.5 DKK + tea, 2.3 hours
Song of the Day: Mario Kart Love Song – Sam Hart

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