It seems like every time I take a plane trip I get ill in some way. Generally my sinuses act up or something. This was no different. My voice continued to suffer so I rested for a record three straight days before venturing back out. I wrote little then and generally just wandered, occasionally checking out more fail spots. So here I’d like to explain a bit why Wien actually was awesome.
That reason would be Geoffrey. After so long away from close friends, staying with Geoffrey, having a consistent room I could call home for a week, having a kitchen I could use to cook – these things were completely priceless. Geoffrey was also extremely generous and acted as my “patron,” thereby enabling me to worry less about money and rest up as I needed to. I tried to pay him back as I could by concocting excellent dinners. These were vegetarian, of course, which made it fun for me – how to make something savory and filling without meat? How to get enough protein?
I made a few wonderful meals but the standout of them all was a Gomiti-like pasta with an avocado garlic butter/olive oil sauce, mixed with fresh buffalo mozarella and tomatoes at at the end – which I came up with on the spot and was very very pleased with (I have since improved it, I think, in Praha where I am typing this post – it tastes best with Gnocchi). On one night we visited a family friend of his which where I felt extremely uncomfortable surrounded by the oppulence and being fired comments like “So you’ll need to go back for another major” after revealing that I concentrated in art.
I finally ventured back to the mean streets of Wien on 8.9.10. My voice still wasn’t so hot so I avoided my more emotional sad songs and veered happy ish again. I noticed some of my repertoire sounds happy enough to a foreign ear and capitalized on the language barrier – the Beatles, for instance. I played two sets back at the same pitch by the church. Shortly after I began the first pitch, the Jewelry shop owner nearby kindly asked me to move a few meters down, which robbed me of the acoustics granted by the archway but I didn’t mind so much, he was so gentle about it. Well, not like I had much choice. A set of police officers passed by at one point but they just smiled at me.
The first pitch was marked by a profusion of youth. Hence, Torn by Natalie Imbruglia was quite the hit. It seems young people like to watch me singing a popular nineties girl’s song or something – also I sing it with feeling which must be funny to see. I was tipped right away from the first song – the Mario Kart Love Song I so dearly love – and the pitch didn’t really slow down.
I remember the second pitch better, somehow. I decided to start off the pitch thanking God with How Great is Our God, something I’d promised to do in Copenhagen but was too shy to do. As soon as I got to the chorus people were tipping. I was bewildered, even. This pitch was characterized by many passing families. One three generation group stuck around from the middle of Somewhere Over the Rainbow until the end. Another hung back on the insistence of the father and children during Country Roads. Something about that song seems to always speak to men rather than women. An elderly lady ducked into the jewelry shop to get change at near the end of my pitch, during Hotel California, and shuffled back to tip me.
Now this day featured two standout experiences. The first involved a Swiss family. They passed me near the start of my first pitch, clustering around me after Let it Be. The two high school age girls did most of the talking as my German is… non-existent. The elder of the two favored intense eye contact, and I looked right back for many songs, taking the opportunity to sing to someone. She was also quite pretty. She requested I’m Yours and Stand By Me and between those two songs all four of the family members tipped me from their individual wallets.
They wandered on south down the street… but during my second pitch, near the middle, they passed back up. This was wonderful. I was just finishing a song – it was perfect timing for more requests. About the parents a little: I quite liked them. The father was great fun and a bit silly. He’d sing along or vocalize randomly in a jolly fashion. The Mom was kindly scatterbrained and shyly worried and reminded me of my mum. So the pretty, gray-green eyed blonde girl requested Apologize and sang along. Then Mika. Then No One, which the whole family loved. They told me they liked my voice, asked if I was hungry – to eat dinner with me (I declined as I had an appointment to chef for Geoffrey). They tipped me again before they left, even giving me Swiss Francs as they’d run out of Euro coins.
The other experience brought me to the other end of the emotional spectrum. During their second passing, a slightly stumbling scruffy man starting hanging around. I focused on the family (and on the eyes of the girl which locked upon mine) instead, but as they departed they warned me he, a Romanian, had been eyeing my coins. I thought nothing of it as he’d disappeared. Well towards the very end of my pitch he returned. A couple had just taken a seat on the steps opposite so I couldn’t very well have stopped mid song, I thought. Well this man walked slowly up to my case, bent down – by this time I stopped singing and just played chords, I was so thrown off and a little worried – and took about three euro. He even had the gall to count it out in front of my face, in his palm, his own face leering and ugly and breath reeking of alchohol as he said something about beer.
Indignant I asked, “Are you taking my money? Are you really taking my money?” But I didn’t do anything. I’m too meek for that, especially with a guitar in front of me that I need to protect and an audience. He just laughed, waved his hand as if it was something I shouldn’t worry about and walked slowly away. I did the only thing I could do do recoup my spirits – I asked for a request from the couple and sang Fake Plastic Trees with all my pissed-off, violated emotions. The performance, at least, was quite good.
Earnings: €25.11 (€28.11) + 2 CHF, 2 hours
Song of the Day: Apologize – One Republic