Did some busking today. First of all I went down to the Degraves Street subway, which was my pitch when I busked on Wednesday. I'd done really well there - the tiles on the walls mean that the flute echoes about and sounds much bigger and fuller than it usually does. I played Amazing Grace real slow with lots of vibrato, and really filled the space. People seemed to like it. I went back today but the spot was taken. So I went for a wander to the Elizabeth Street subway, which is long and loud and skinny. There was a busker there as well. His name was Dean, and he'd written a book called 'Nice work if you can get it', which is about a gigolo. I read the blurb on his book, which was proudly displayed in his guitar case - clearly he's a multi-skilled man. Dean was nice - he told me that sometimes he busks outside Coles on Elizabeth Street, suggested I give it a go.
So I did - I played Amazing Grace long and slow, I improvised in a minor key around the tune of House of the Rising Sun (bit of a prostitution theme this morning), I let the lilting melody of Danny Boy float amongst the crowds and along the tram line.
Nobody gave me anything. Not a single silver coin. I felt a little lame, earnestly puffing away with my empty, desperate-looking case for the world to see and dismiss...but to be honest, I kind of enjoyed myself. It was fun doing something so completely different to everybody else - while business women hurriedly clip-clopped along, foam coffee cup in hand, I was playing 'Morning has broken' on the flute. In the past I would have been embarrassed to be doing something so different...in some ways, I'm more comfortable in the dreary stream of grey, black and brown, clutching a handbag, rushing off to be somewhere important. This morning, I wasn't going anywhere. Just playing my flute outside a supermarket, while the world rushed on around me. My own rhythm, a different tune. It was fun not to fit in.
I've been living in the city for 8 months now, and I'm starting to see this place as almost a bit of a playground. Maybe I feel a sense of ownership over it or something - I can go out and be something different, because this is my home, and you are all visitors! I can just be myself - at home there is no need to dress up or wear makeup...I can sing, laugh loud and wear tracky daks.
Yesterday evening we put on a sausage sizzle and cake sale to raise money for a family we know who lost their place in the bushfire. Little Bella was there, and she was being pretty hyper. She wanted to play row-row-row-your-boat in the middle of the footpath on Collins Street. So I played with her - getting in people's way, slowing them down, waking them up. A child playing in the middle of the footpath on Collins Street, outside the pearl shop. Fantastic. I wanted to be a part of that! I delighted it how natural it felt - how it didn't feel too much different from hanging out in our front yard. It was our front yard, I suppose. It's nice to feel a sense of ownership about that.