Full marks for generosity, creativity and tenacity have to go to one passer-by in Victoria Thursday gone (8th March).
I was busking, and in the middle of John Williams’ main title theme to Schindler’s List, when an elderly gentleman with superb white hair approached me brandishing a £10 note. I thought he was simply drawing my attention to this (very generous! – the typical amount per punter is £1 in my experience) donation, then briefly wondered if he wanted to take some change from it (which wouldn’t have been unreasonable – in this era when few people have pocketfuls of coins, I’m always surprised more people don’t drop in a note and grab a few pound coins back). In fact, he was simply concerned it might blow away if dropped in my violin case. (I appreciate the problem – when I am given notes, I try and scoop a couple of coins on top of them at the end of that number.)
I know this to be the case because, when I simply nodded appreciatively and kept playing (I wasn’t going to interrupt the flow of what is more or less a piece of classical music if I could help it), he carefully folded the tenner in half and inserted it in the cuff of my left coat sleeve, mid-phrase, while I kept playing. Of course, once he was engaged in this I could do no better than make sure I didn’t waver musically until he finished, in a spirit of cooperation.
Besides doubtless being bizarre to watch, this gives me the notion of a cabaret double-act involving essentially one person playing, preferably fairly impressively, while the other carries out various careful operations on them – picking their pockets, changing their shoes, stuffing things into their clothing, adding hats, etc. What do you reckon? Better prospect than trying to get onto the freelance professional orchestra circuit?