Donations of Another Sort
As a busker it’s more than likely at least one person is going to throw some money into your case/hat/box/wheelbarrow/whatever-you-collect-donations-in. In most cases you will get a fair amount of coins thrown your way. But sometimes people like to give you other ‘donations’, which if you’ve read my previous posts you’ll have seen that I got given beef…like actual strips of beef, with noodles and sauce, ready for a stir-fry. Well since then I’ve had a few other things dropped in, some very recently. I’ll show you the ‘cool’ ones first;
A Growlithe! I got given a Pokemon card, I haven’t been given one of these since I was like 10 years old – when I was obsessed with Pokemon and had a shiny Venusaur. So it was pretty awesome receiving this whilst out busking.
This one was given yesterday – Valentines day. I was busking in my hometown of Kidderminster, when a couple stood and watched me for ages, the woman caught my eye as they left the bank she smiled and grabbed her partner, they both smiled and complimented my playing. They started slow dancing to my song, and the guy took out a Polaroid and with a flash dropped a blank photo into my case, which developed into this —->
This has to be my favourite gift whilst out busking, I love how it’s captured me doing something I love on a day of love (although everyday is a day of love – always love!).
Now here (above) is another very generous food donation…..half eaten crisp. Brilliant. It made me laugh as I saw the gang of kids giggle about putting it in way before the gang leader dropped it in. I mean it was a great quick snack, joking I didn’t actually eat it. As the kid dropped it in, he ran off as soon as it landed with his other friends all laughing very loudly.
It really doesn’t bother me though, it just makes me laugh. I get quite a lot of laughs and non-pleasant comments thrown my way when I’m busking, so I’ve kind of built an iron skin when it comes down to this kind of reaction. Examples being “Get a job mate”, “I’ll pay you 50p to shut the f**k up”, “Mate, shut up no one cares!”, This one guy first laughed loudly at me, shook his head and said, “You do realise there are better ways to earn money don’t you” – well I love busking so I’m happy doing this to earn money, I’d much rather do this than spend 8 hours a day working for a company that have very little care for me as a person. I must admit reactions like this have hurt me a few times but I just remind myself of all the amazingly positive and beautiful reactions that have come from busking and I’m filled with positive energy again. I heard a quote quite recently which really stuck with me – ‘It’s how you earn your money, not how much money you earn‘.
Now the last recent non-cash donation I’ve received was….well…a woman with far too much fake tan splattered all over her face, and her two pals walked past me talking a language that sounded like English but with, ‘like’ ‘ennit’ ‘bab’ ‘kecker’, used at least twice in each sentence. As they walked past I heard something drop in my case, it wasn’t a coin, “Like, bab kecker did it like ennit stay in, ennit bab kecker!” they all chuckled and I took a closer look into my case and saw something smoldering, it was the end of a very dirty cigarette….lovely. I threw it out in time before it had chance to burn my busking sign, I just stood and laughed at the fact someone so orange found it funny to do something like this…gross.
I don’t want to end this post on a negative story, so here’s something a bit more positive.
A More Positive Story
I went busking in Cheltenham around November 2016, on a Saturday which was insanely busy. It was the first time I’ve ever been to Cheltenham and really enjoyed the whole busking session, the town itself was lovely, it reminded me a bit of Worcester, there were some lovely people and I met a fellow bassist who later became my student for a few months.
As I was busking on the corner of the highstreet, I had a drone based loop on the go, I heard someone crying behind me, as I turned around I was embraced by the arms of short woman in very hippie clothing and long ginger hair, she put her arms around me and squeezed hard with tears running down her face. She let go and a very large smile grew on her face, she spoke whilst crying and said “Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’ve been lost all day, and have been asking God for forgiveness. I followed these sounds and realised it is God giving me a sign that I he forgives me. Thank you for being here, thank you for lifting my spirit, thank you for the sign and for the forgiveness”. She was very animated with her crying and I had no idea how to react or what to say, I was completely blown away by this interaction with her, it brought tears to my eyes. As she was walking away she kept turning back and listening, still with tears streaming down her face.
I have no idea what to say about this whole interaction and connection I had with this woman as it left me speechless for a long time. But it just opened my eyes to how powerful music can sometimes be for people and how every sound/song/genre/artist means something completely different to each individual person.
No matter what your art is, busking is a platform for you to share it with so many different individuals, and you will always find someone who will enjoy your art. So go out and attract your audience and connect with people!
Thank you for following my website and reading this post!
If you like what I do and want to support me, you can donate here http://www.paypal.me/JamesChatfield
Please feel free to comment below, share your busking stories and any advice on busking you may have! I’d love to connect with more buskers and learn more about the art!
All the best!
See you next week!
I have also started a daily bass Vlog on my YouTube channel, you can check it out here –
– this video is a busking session in Kidderminster –