I am taking care of tiny baby kittens while in Charlotte so I haven’t found the motivation to write about the last three days of busking (who can focus on writing about busking when there are babies to play with??) I’ll post a video if you want.
I tried a couple of new places in the last few days, with varying degrees of success. Charlotte has this thing called “Mec Dec” which stands for Mecklenburg Declaration, as in Mecklenburg County’s Declaration of Independence, which is the extent to which I know about that. That day it was rainy and so I tried to make a few bucks with not a great amount of success. I did, however, meet a rock singer from Bangladesh.
I don’t know why I even bother paying for parking, because I have never gotten a parking ticket in Charlotte. I must just be lucky. I mean, I am really lucky. I was planning on having to walk 2.7 miles each way downtown every day while I was in Charlotte, and then my stepmom’s two friends told me they needed someone to take care of their adorable kittens for the next few days and let me use their car! They are paying me to do something I would pay to do! Additionally, I got an extra few days in Charlotte because one of my friends called me last night in the middle of the night saying she was here! It was last minute because I was supposed to leave this morning, but I was already clinging to the idea of Charlotte when I was resigning to going back to Chapel Hill.
The worse thing on planet Earth is about to come to Charlotte: Speed Street. It’s nearly impossible to find a parking spot right now and we’re about to be bombarded by rednecks. This time, however, I’m still going to attempt to busk since I’ll be here until Saturday. Last year I tried one spot and it was too loud so I gave up, but I think this time around I will try a few spots.
It feels nice to insert a little music into the lives of the commuters of downtown Charlotte, many of whom I imagine find themselves in a strained, mundane state of being. Not all, but certainly some. I always imagine myself into the heads of passersby, wondering what they are feeling and thinking. Wondering what they are feeling guilty about, to whom, if anyone, they are returning home, what makes them smile and scowl.
I didn’t keep good count but I think I made around $120 to $140 in the last couple of days. I’ll post a cute video of the baybeez soon.
spencerjoyce asked: I live in the DC area, have you ever busked in DC? If so, where are some good places?
I did one time, but it was over 100 degrees that day so there weren’t many people around. Dupont Circle outside the escalator wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. Lots of commuters not wanting to stop (but I imagine that part of it was the heat).
alexstone asked: Are you doing another country-wide trek this summer?
Not quite. I’m waiting on a response from a company that may be offering me an internship in New York (crossing my fingers hard right now). If I don’t get it I am not sure what I’m going to do: my only plans are going to Richmond to see my uncle graduate from college and I’m studying abroad in Hong Kong in the fall, so I’ll be visiting Japan with my roommate in August. So basically, if I don’t get the internship, I will have no plans for June and July. :[
spencerjoyce asked: Got any advice for a beginner busker such as myself? (Where should I play? What should I play? How do I handle hecklers or police? Etc.)
Heya! Glad to hear there is another busker-to-be in this world. Where you should play? A place where there are a lot of people. It’s better if you’re playing for tourists/amblers because it’s likely that commuters are trying to get out of there as fast as possible. Play standards and newish pop songs, and more importantly, play what you’re good at. Play stuff people will know. Originals aren’t too popular; my policy is only play an original if someone asks for it. Before you busk check out ordinances; you might need a permit. If you need a permit, go get one obviously. If you don’t need one, that’s what you can tell the police. Sometimes they don’t know and will treat you like a panhandler (which you are not!!). I don’t get hecklers all too often, to be honest, so you might be on your own for that one. :\
I’m so exhausted! It’s 2.7 miles to where I busk and 2.7 home, and nobody is in town so I walked both ways with a guitar on my back. I’m ready for an endless nap. It started raining after about an hour but I made $46 so that’s good. I did have to walk home in the rain for a little while, which was unpleasant, but not too bad.
Kimberly the hot dog seller has a brother who is probably around 40. He is mentally challenged but a very sweet man, and when he saw me today he gave me a big hug. He told me had a job yesterday and he was supposed to be meeting the guy here to get paid, but the man was running late. He told me that he had worked thirteen hours yesterday and that the man was going to pay him $50. Who would ever try to take advantage of someone like that? The greed in this world is despicable. I reminded him that if the guy tried to screw him over, Kimberly would put him in his place. He agreed.
There weren’t many people downtown today since it was cloudy, but people were walking at a more leisurely pace, not to mention they were all feeling a bit more generous on the weekend. I met someone today who buys and trades guitars, who told me my guitar was very unique and beautiful. I agreed. He is bringing me a new set of strings on Monday since I told him I didn’t have a car.
I am happy to be in my hometown but I wish I had a car so I could go somewhere. Even just a drive would be nice. None of my friends are here.
Back in Charlotte and busking again! I missed it. Brings back feelings I haven’t had in awhile. Namely, I reclaim the ability to trust anyone I see. Being a busker gives you the opportunity to not suspect everyone around you for fear for your safety. As a small woman it has been metaphorically beaten into me that I should be wary of everyone around me. And of course, more likely than not I have been led out of harms way by this attitude. However, with a guitar on my back or around my shoulder I feel inclined to smile at everyone. I feel a sense of openness that I find difficult to obtain in any other context.
Despite its extreme inconsistencies, there are still some generalities I have picked up on from doing it for so long. I always sound worse in the first hour, and I always make less money in the first hour. I have to remind myself to keep a positive attitude because if I just enjoy myself and enjoy the company of the passersby, the money will come naturally. Believe it or not.
Today I made $80 and bought a diet coke from the nearby hot dog seller (Kimberly) because I want her to know I support her business (and to try to make up for her poor ears listening to my obnoxious voice for so many hours a week), and then an almond tea cake from the bakery across the street.
It’s supposed to rain tomorrow. We’ll see.