I really like Northern Italy. Likely this caused an inability to escape. When we finally managed to wrest ourselves away from Arco, we didn’t really make it terribly far. We got to a place called Malè, about 80 kilometers away. So not really much of an escape. The idea was to hike to the Dolomites, but upon hearing that this recent winter was the worst in recent memory and therefore there was still a lot of snow on top of the mountains (causing one hiker to die…) we took our hosts’ advice and headed up the Val di Rabbi instead. It ranked as one of Brent’s favourite hikes, and he has walked up and down a lot of things. What made in particularly lovely was the no one. We left at 6.30 in the morning, thereby guaranteeing the mountain to ourselves. Only on the way down did we see anyone, and by then the rain had rolled in and we found a nice little restaurant with a gorgeous view. Italy really needs to be patched. It’s pretty obvious to us how OP it is.
The following day we promptly did nothing. Well, we cooked both nights, but aside from that, truly nothing all day (board games, exercise, violin, etc). Glorious. By night time I decided it was time to busk, after an entire week busk free, and with the clouds finally cleared enough for non deathly humidity levels.
2,000 peole live in the entire comune of Malè. Over the course of the evening, I think I managed to see 10% of the population. About 0.5% of the population tipped me. I find this hilarious and endearing. And all friendly people. Even as I started, right as I began to set up, a jolly, very round middle aged man tipped me a 2 euro coin. Noticing me, shrugging, smiling, meeting my eyes, tipping. Later on he’d pass again with a friend, offering me pasta (Hai mangiato?) and then (Gia ho mangiato, grazie mille) tipping another two euro coin, with lovely large Italian hand gestures and that twinkling eye. Oh! I felt so nervous and wonderful the entire time. When the audience doesn’t particularly care about me, it’s easy to turn inwards and play for myself, the tips thereby incidental to my enjoyment and craft of my music. But when they want me to succeed, when they want to hear, then I yearn to produce, and thereby become so nervous. If only my violin sounded better! Due to the humidity, it sounded thin and quiet, none of the dark beauty that I bought it for. (I have since ammended this in Valencia, yesterday, for all the moneys).
Here are the tippers I remember.
A serious looking businessman, replete with pinstriped suit passing slowly on his white town bike circled round, tipped, and then telling me if I ever want to work, I can come play at his Hotel, giving me the Hotel’s card. The highest compliment
A lovely woman with perfect English (perhaps she was German) sporting a neat, white shirt saying “Congratulations, you play very well!”
A blonde woman with an appreciative hand gesture.
A kind, young couple, man in hoodie, girl in shorts, tip and sit until I finish by the fountain to my left. You can hear me all throughout the square and thus throughout town.
A large rush of teenagers crowding around, confused and awed but shying quickly away without eye contact when I look up to smile at them while playing the Gm/Dm improv.
Three young children circling round and round the square on bikes, passing me each time for two or three songs until eventually they fetch their mothers, who help them tip. Such curious looks.
Even those that don’t tip exchange some words with me, starting up in Italian rather than English, friendly an forgiving of my accent and awful grammar. It seems many passed on the way home from the square and tipped me on the return to the square for drinks (how beautiful the Italian lifestyle!). Each with a comment or a gesture, or a smile. One middle aged man stopping another (in fact everyone who tipped me aside from the children was of this age) and asking him to tip on his behalf, then discussing something about me that I didn’t understand.
I felt appreciated, supported, encouraged. I wish busking always went this well.
Earnings: 15,15€, 1 hour