Well, technically back on the station concourses, but that doesn’t have quite the same ambiguous ring to it.
Conventional wisdom, particularly gigging band wisdom as opposed to classical or musical theatre (does that last include panto?), says there are never any gigs in January. And my diary for this year more or less bears that out – apart from the last half-hour or so of Kindred Spirit Duo‘s New Year’s Eve gig (entertaining Basingstoke’s Irish community!), and an early re-start for the Filthy Spectacula, gigging on the last Friday in the month at Jamboree, no paying conventional gigs this month.
However, I’m not given to letting the grass grow under my feet. That’s partly meant intensive work on some of the standard upper-end classical viola repertoire, notably the first Stamitz concerto (aka ‘the orchestral audition piece par excellence‘!); and keeping my orchestral hand in with a scratch play/sing-day on the Verdi Requiem (subs waived for me as a known pro, so it only cost me my lunch, which is fair gain I think).
But, none of that pays the rent as such, and a house move in December has pushed my accommodation expenses up, besides driving lessons (eyeing independent travel to and from engagements in a couple of months) and a desire not to expand the amount of my time and energy spent on publishing work. So, I’ve returned to the London train terminus busking scheme. A tighter focus on British fiddle dances – jigs, reels, hornpipes, etc. – with some classical lollipops as variation (if only to give my arms some change / rest!) seems to be paying dividends in more dependable income, and occasions when I’ve got lucky with which slots I was scheduled have been truly lucrative. If I keep up a couple of stints a week as at present, there is a genuine possibility busking might become my single biggest source of musical income for a while!
Curiously, this was (just) anticipated by a repeat of a Radio 4 programme on intellectual property – which features me playing and granting permission to be broadcast on condition of credit by name near the beginning. From the number of family and friends that caught it this time, the repeat seems to have enjoyed a substantially larger audience than the original broadcast. Well, it’s all good publicity …