A Buskers – no Williamstown, Day 1

I swapped to a host in the beautiful tourist suburb of Williamstown after finally finishing a song I began in December. After sharing this song those same new hosts, I started to wonder about my process – they are poems with “lots of words” as Neil said, and somewhat repetitive. Perhaps the music is incidental to the poem, and that’s not really ideal – they should be synonymous. Something to think about, certainly – once I get myself together a bit I’ll attempt to post the four new songs on here. There simply hasn’t been time enough. As I write this, for instance, I’ve taken my first full day not exploring to do all the various strange things that have piled up from lack of computer access/need to busk/explore/practice. Still I’m not close.

So naturally I remain woefully behind on blog posts. Having read a comment on the website thebuskingproject on the self-centeredness of said travelers, I had a brief moment when I reconsidered my own self centeredness in the writing of this blog. But then I got over it. It’s meant to be. That, and a resource for buskers to be. I wonder if anyone’s yet benefitted from it? At least it lets my mother know I’m alive, and that’s useful enough. Otherwise she’d send my younger brother out to find my presumably dead body after three days of no contact.

In Australia they celebrate Easter with a public holiday. In fact people get more time off work than at Christmas. Apparently Good Friday is the only day when all supermarkets are closed. Apparently people go nuts on Thursday because of it. To take advantage of this fact, a friend of my new hosts recommended I play a bit outside the Coles supermarket in the center of town. After hearing at the info stand how busking requires a permit and that police are wont to arrest in Williamstown, I took stock of the town vibe (which is quite akin to the Virginia town of the same name) and decided to go for it anyways. A few police passed me with absolutely nothing better to do but still didn’t bust me. A pleasant place.

I set up between two bakeries after procuring permission from their tenders, in the doorway of a shut down shop so as not to “obstruct traffic” and to captain the marginally better acoustics. With allergies and a nervousness born of my last pitch in Hobart, I expected a slow pitch. I interpreted the first comment as I passed of a “I don’t have any money, sorry.” while I tuned as a snide racist one, with little reason. Happily, the warmer Melbourne climes and cosmopolitan feel guaranteed a rather opposite result.

I played a set of all good Aussie songs (everything that got requested before or had a good response). Voice sore, ear a bit off, busking felt familiar nonetheless. Regular, like a pleasant job (yes that’s possible). Nothing really impressed upon me too much – few things do any more. If I don’t note down instantly the look of the old lady who smiled while inching along or the comment of the mother walking over from the supermarket with gray plastic bags in the crook of her elbow or the businessman with a sharp nod of acknowledgement or the olive skinned painter slathered in white paint over blu overalls and a tired expression brightening from his eyes down through his outstretched arms and into his upright thumbs – I’d never remember a single one. Just the impression of them, a general feel of what might have happened this day, what was wont to happe with the vibe but no certainty.

I wrote three things down.

Two little girls – one white, one the chinese child of her slightly disintered brand name aviator young woman who completely ruined my stereotype and kindly gave each girl a dollar to tip, stuck around a bit and said “No worries” still detached to my “Thanks.” She sat on one of the bakery’s chairs while her wards requested Dream. (I think because it’s the first on the list). During the instrumental bridge, one of the girls asked “Why do you do this?” and I had a very difficult time coming up with a sensible answer. When you can’t explain something in simple enough terms for a child, maybe it’s time to do something else?

Tips came pouring in when I sang Where is My Mind. Probably the humour factor and the very happy smile I sported by then. People started telling me “Happy Easter.” while tipping or indicating approval. When I finished up after just over an hour, the girl tending the baker’s delight stand outside the shop said “You were wonderful!” when I asked the time.

I intended to take a break and return after dinner. I walked about the absolutely beautiful coastline to a pristine circular grassy field to watch pelicans wing by huge and close enough to touch just over the gentle waves towards a gorgeous pre-sunset – that kind of low sun that splays halos of light into clouds that suffuse visible rays. Until it got way too cold.

I cooked Neil and Ri a picadillo, which took rather longer than I anticipated what with a single frying pan to work with and grand designs for plating. As I served up the meal, rain starting pouring down, thoroughly dampening my plans to go back out.

Earnings: 25.75 AUD, 1.2 hours
Song of the Day: Where Is My Mind? – The Pixies

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