Didn’t feel quite right to conflate (a word in vogue during Brent’s time at Hah-vahd, apparently) an awful pitch with a wonderful one. So I won’t. Even though this pitch had an awful example of humanity in it, too. Barbara summed up my attitude towards my fellow man best: aggressive hatred. But even this failure of a human being was drowned out by the overwhelming wave of positivity.
Tips right away. Many people double back and tip, as opposed to the previous outings’ habbit of intentive tips. A clear audience preference for slower melodies. Huge smiles embolden me to sing better, louder, and calm me enough to breathe properly. These singing while playing songs garner wonderful success. Especially Excuses. A professionally attired woman with beautiful ebony skin accented well by her beige skirt slows as I sing. Stops when I smile before the breakdown section. Looks at me intently, thinking, considering, weighing, then opens a lovely cream purse with golden clasps, a black clutch, and a woven wallet to fetch a twenty pound note, nods, waits for me to finish the third verse, then motions me to pause so as to press it carefully into my hand. Wonderful.
Not long afterwards, a fat Latino man mearing a sombrero, a dull expression, and a fat girlfriend weighing down his left arm hacks up a large spitball from from his cavernous longs and spits directly in front of my case. Malice in his eyes and hatred on his unkempt, sagging face. He waits to make a point of meeting my eyes, then jabs his fingers in his ears, screws up his eyes and makes angry noises on the way down. There are many passersby around. He does not answer to “Per chè, signor?” and the other tunnel denizens offer their puzzled consolation. Some tip.
A young couple – slim Italian girl and fit African man with well managed dreadlocks pass and stop and return and tip with a smile that lifts from one face across to the other. A group of Chinese tourists are shocked that I happen to be playing the Butterfly Lover’s Violin Concerto as they pass and one tips furtively. An old man approaches as I improvise in G minor, peering beneath my hair to take a good look at my face before tipping the coins he already has in his hands. A group of young men in suits pass and one encourages his mates to tip. Youth stop tooting their fog horns as they see me, and cheer when I join in their irrepressible “Vai Italia!”s. Italia plays soon. Switzerland will play later. Both will lose in spectacular fashion.
Later, down in the square, the crowd chain smokes, sips aperitivos gentilely, murmurs politely, and makes sure their heads are not obscuring the vision of the people behind them. France scores a third goal against Switzerland in the 40th minute and the Swiss fans sigh disappointedly, chat reasonably about tactics to each other, and occasionally blow their foghorns in as polite a manner as can be managed with foghorns. “Hop Suisse” chants punctuate the affair and no one leaves at half time. We do. It might rain.
Earnings: 51,30CHF, 1.25 hours