Tuesday, 3 January 2017

I'm not desperate! - 25th May 2016


This declaration of love had been repeatedly sprayed onto many of the roads and pavements around Montmartre.
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
For a change I decided to venture into the 4ème this morning, and since all the buskable bridges over the Seine had already been claimed by jazzy bands and accordionists, I headed to the first pitch I ever busked on in Paris about six years ago (with my double bass) - the Pompidou Centre.
I set up beneath the protective presence of one of this awesome library's metal funnels, next to a row of sketch and caricature artists. There weren't actually that many people around, and the strong sun not only scorched my scalp and shoulder heads, but it caused my fiddle to keep going flat.
A pale fellow who reminded me of the research archivist at the National Jazz Archive, Loughton where I used to volunteer, gave me money after having lent me his ears sat atop a narrow post, and a sage man with Chinese eyes and grey-streaked long black hair studied me closely and seemed to approve of my playing.
Longing for some shade, I relocated to a nearby pedestrianized area where I was approached by a chap in a navy blue suit who revealed he hadn't any cash to give me, but that he'd like to buy me a drink before having to go back to work. I politely declined, then he bombarded me with questions: Do I busk all day? Do I earn much? Isn't it hot performing in the sun? He loitered creepily for the duration of the rest of my session - which wasn't long because busking here turned out to be a non-starter, plus I felt frazzled with OCD.
At least I'd made the money back for the couple of gargantuan bananas I bought at Villejuif-Louis Aragon Métro station on the way into Paris this morning, though!



This and the following violins are displayed in the shop windows of luthiers and music shops on rue de Rome, Paris.
Place des Abbesses, Paris
While I was milling about rue de Rome this afternoon, I treated myself to the stunning book of French songs and jazz standards, Mémento du musicien for five euros, and was determined to pay for it with my busking earnings.
I Irish fiddled underneath my favourite tree beside a bus stop, where two prams full of cherubic toddlers gazed up at me in wonder, then nobody showed me any interest for a good while.
A French couple must've heard me as they came down steep rue Ravignan. The woman looked like Velma Dinkley from the cartoon, Scooby-Doo, apart from she was sporting a verging on Orville-green bob and aquamarine glasses. The pair made a donation of two euros and a man handed me a slip of paper entitled, 'Need money?' It said, "Amateur photographer, Rico, is searching for attractive females to pose nude." Why do people assume that just because I busk, I'm desperate? Why can't it be that I simply love performing my musical instruments in public?!



Clutching a huge black tarpaulin sheet, a grubby man told me that I could only busk in the place (because of something to do with the building opposite), then having seen me off, the friend he was with began setting out some arty objects to sell along the pavement next to a wall.


Terrace of Le Saint Jean, 16 rue des Abbesses, Paris
I played my fiddle well (I thought) and at a considerate volume to the customers enjoying an evening drink on the terrace, but received nothing in return.
Terrace of Le Carrousel, 8 rue Trois Frères, Paris
The music from inside the bar was blaring out when I arrived, but thankfully, the waiter turned it down so that I could busk folk violin on the terrace.
A drunk flâneur-type with a scarf askew around his neck and over-preened eyebrows, asked my permission before pointing his white iPhone in my face to film. He told me later on (once he was seated), that he was from Norway but spoke English and had lived in Chelsea, London. He was with his husband and mother-in-law, who presented me with a five euro note (which paid for the music book I'd bought earlier). He then commented that I must be used to gays like him (?!) before we said goodbye.
A bearded guy with a blonde curly-haired little boy who had a large dome of a head handed him a euro to give me and said that my music had been "very beautiful." Other people at the tables were generous, too.
I departed feeling proud of what I'd achieved today - especially since I'd felt unwell for a lot of it.



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