Sounds of Zephyr; Collaboration with Another Busker (Chris Duckett)

On the 23rd January, I met Chris Duckett at the Firefly Open Mic night in Worcester. We connected really well through our love of busking and performing every chance we get, I discovered he was on a busking tour, lives in his van and is staying in Worcester for the week – straight away I knew this was going to be a great friendship!
I performed my guitar/bass one-man band, Chris loved what he saw, and straight up gave me a bunch of festival dates for some main stages he helps organize! Then Chris performed and silenced the whole room, magical sounds from his percussive spaceship! It seems to be a rare sight to see and hear a HandPan live, and Chris sure knows how to play it (at this point he’s been playing it for 3 weeks!! 3 weeks!!!!). 

Video from Firefly Open Mic – Night I met Chris

The next day we hit the streets of Worcester together and busked all day! Chris’ busking spots were very interesting, as a new busker to the place I guess he didn’t really know the core busking spots, but the place he chose was incredible, under shelter in this tunnel perfect ambiance for his instrument and music, a place I never thought of using before, but will when the rain hits!
I’ve learned a lot about busking from Chris since meeting him, the main thing being persistence and playing longer – he was busking from 9am to 2am most days! – with breaks obviously, something like 9-11am 12-2pm 5-7pm 9-11pm 1-2am (Worcester clubbers loved his music during these hours!). So much busking each day! His energy definitely passed onto me and my love for busking has only increased!

Busking spot Chris found, sheltered from rain, his original song – Singing

Being a rainy day in Worcester, we busked here until 4pm. Our friend Jake Marsh (who lives on a boat and runs a gigging boat club during summer), offered his place to shelter from the rain, so as three musicians, we jammed, on a boat, it was a lot of fun! Below is the outcome! It’s a mix of an original song by myself and vocal lines from an original by Chris.

After all the jamness with Jake on his boat! We hit the hay for the day and met up again in Worcester the following day for more jams! Adding a member to the jam – Cookie – beatboxing master!

Being it Friday we busked the night whilst people were on their way to party! We got a little crowd going and met a lovely woman who wished we’d had got together as a trio sooner to play at her wedding! She was loving it, dancing with her kids, from this we basically forced to give this trio a name – The BeatBassPan – CookieDuckettField – Waves – Sounds of Waves – The Waves – Sounds of Zephyr! = decided! And so Sounds of Zephyr was born! We jammed so much that night, later around 10pm we were joined by some more beatboxers and rappers, we had a little crowd judging a beatboxing battle going down between Cookie and Jack Goodwin.

From the jams we had, I took all the ‘good’ bits and compiled it onto a Bandcamp album, a live recording demo of our jams! My trusty Zoom Q2HD recording and rocking strong – this has been one of my best purchases as a musician, I record pretty much everything I do and the quality is insane for such a tiny recorder, I highly recommend if you’re wanting to get rough recordings of gigs, busking, rehearsals, sampling found sounds etc etc.

So here are the tracks!
My favorite has to be ‘You Wanna Be Friends?!’, it’s featuring Jack Goodwin, who is both an excellent beatboxer/rapper/spoken word and amazing human being! Whilst jamming this I got pumped with energy and was dancing around like a lunatic, feeling high on music and life! The video below was taken during this jam!

Having too much fun busking with the gang! I love busking and I love just playing a groove on the bass, so this was a lot of fun! We had a lot of energy and dancing going on all night! Super excited for more night busking jams like this.

Moving on from the trio beatboxing/handpanning madness, me and Chris spent some time hanging out, planning travels, booking gigs and jamming some duo material. We found a warm place by a fire with tea, eating vegan pies and jamming on the house piano –

It’s fun to just jam and let the music flow out! Especially when you connect so well with someone musically, the songs and music just pour out. We must have written about 10 songs as a duo in the tiny timeframe we’d met.
So this was just before we went busking as a trio again for a big night busk. We found this really cool open square surrounded by restaurants, there were lots of people hanging around drinking. We managed to play for an hour before we got shut down by security as we had complaints from a very hidden Travelodge, it was in no way an aggressive shutdown, as the security guard brought us out tea and gave us a fiver! He actually seemed bummed out that he was told to shut us down.
We separated that night for different musical adventures, I and Cookie went off with a gang of Worcester musos for a big jam on Jake Marsh’s Boat House, while Chris went and busked! From 12-2am! He said it was some of the best busking he’s ever done!

The next busking session we went to my hometown of Kidderminster, not busking there for a while it was nice to bring my new set-up of guitar/bass! My ‘regulars’, townpals, Kidderminster fans, I don’t know what to call them erm, – the extremely generous and friendly people who donate and chat with me everytime I busk in Kidderminster – really loved what they heard and was intrigued by the additional guitar, they all asked about the Europe trip and asked about my next destinations, the connection with these people is amazing! They’re so loving!!!
Later when Chris came down, they loved that too! We jammed through some new tunes and did some big ambient jams, like this one;

And here’s the final jam we did before Chris drove off towards the Midlands to carry on his busking tour! This is my most favorite thing we did as a duo and was highly inspired by Nizlopi (a joint favorite artist of ours whom we’d love to gig with!). It ended on such a high positive note and was the perfect way to end our first run of busking jams together, we’ve planned so much for the summer, for busking adventures and for the future of Sounds of Zephyr.
Meeting and jamming with Chris has uplifted me both spiritually and musically, motivating me to busk more and to give more time to aid people. It’s opened up a whole new path to walk down. I feel our paths aligned at the right time, as both our life goals are quite similar and we’ll be able to lift each other closer to these goals.

So yes! Thank you, Chris, for everything you’ve taught me the past couple of weeks, I’m super excited for more writing sessions and more busking adventures!

Now! Go check out his music! Because! It’s beautiful and will uplift you!
You’ll find it HERE and HERE and also HERE!

 

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A New Set-Up – Guitar/Bass/Vocals

So recently I’ve been experimenting with a new set-up (above). Which involves me playing both bass and guitar simultaneously whilst ‘trying’ to sing. This all happened by a happy accident – wanting to learn a Ben Howard tune on guitar. I had the bass on, sat the guitar on my lap and used the bass to tune the guitar to an open tuning, hitting harmonics on both instruments – “that sounds cool! what if I hold a bass note and hit the guitar for harmonics and percussive stuff!?”. Since then I’ve not stopped writing and practicing with this set-up, apart from a few days off as I went busking with it and due to the cold, split my middle finger open whilst hitting the tiny sharp guitar strings!

I’m really enjoying playing around with this set-up and the challenge of trying to balance two instruments. I’m still trying to understand what the hell I’m doing and how to make it sound good, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done with it, but the practice is fun – so fun actually – I never want to put them down! Ahh I’m excited by this, I feel there’s so much potential with what I can do with this set-up.

The video is taken from my second live performance with this, it’s been a very terrifying and nerve racking thing! Especially with the singing, as I’m very very new to singing and know there’s a lot of vocal work to be done, I feel I can’t really sing just yet, but with lots of practice, maybe I could!? But it was a fun experience and it’s definitely building my confidence. I’m not overly happy with this performance and was very unsure on whether or not I should release it online, but then I thought it’d be cool to document my journey with learning the set-up and I guess have it to look back on and see where I need to improve and to see my personal progression with singing and performing.
This was on the 4th January 2018, so just over 2 weeks since I started messing around with the set-up, first video upload:

I’ll be uploading a tonne more content to the likes of Instagram and YouTube, so follow me on both of these platforms to see more clips from my quest: to learn how to sing, play guitar and play bass – all at the same time.

 

Take care!

Thank you for following my blog and reading this post!

Much love for you!

Keep smiling and follow your heart!

Grab ya self some free music from my BandCamp!
chatfield.bandcamp.com

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The Pros and Cons of Busking, I’ve Discovered So Far.

I wanted to make an informational blog post to share with fellow artists who have considered busking and want to get a better understanding of what the pros and cons are for busking. So below are,
5 Reasons why Busking can be Hard and 5 Reasons to go and Busk Now!

Cons

Weather Dependency – the most obvious. Rain, wind, snow, hail, thunderstorms, frost etc. can negatively affect your busking sessions, and prevent you from busking. It’s not fun playing when your donation box gets flipped by the wind and the coins scatter rolling away in all directions (“my lunch money! nooooo!”). Or walking to a great spot, beautiful rays from the sun and then 20 minutes into playing, SPLASH a waterfall emerges and soaks your gear, frantically packing away, the moment you find someplace warm to dry off, the rain stops -.-
So to prevent this, prepare;
– Check the forecast on multiple websites/apps.
– Bring a cover for your gear, something which can wrap around it whilst you’re moving from A to B i.e. a coat to tie around your busking trolley or tarpaulin to throw over quickly.
– Find spots with shelters overhead,
– Fingerless Gloves! For cold winter days! – Thinsulate Insulation Fingerless Gloves these are what I use and highly recommend them, super warm and super cosy.
Always be prepared as weather forecasts and rain radars are not always accurate and bad weather can easily come from nowhere.

Facing Rejection and Negativity. Being out their in the public, exposes you to everyone’s opinion of yourself, your music and busking. So there may be occasions where someone will feel the necessity to tell you; ‘busking is begging‘ or ‘you’re ruining my day, you noisy bugger!’ or ‘you’re terrible, get a real job!’, that’s not the worst of what I’ve had spat at me, but it is a rarity. It can also be disheartening when you’re trying to pass around smiles and people just look down at you.
Generally if there’s negativity in a place you’re busking you may feel it, but just remember to stay positive and smile to yourself, because you’re out their performing something you’ve worked hard at creating and have passion for.
Some people may not like it, but who cares! You’re out their trying to connect with those who do like it.

Lonesomeness. If you’re a solo artist like me, it can be a lonely journey at times. Standing there playing all day without a co-worker to push your motivation when you feel low or lost. Which also means if you’re busting for a whizz or need a drink, you’ve got to pack down and set-up again – always toilet break before you set-up, and bring a drink.
But this is where the beauty of strangers come in and keep your motivation high, ‘don’t stop doing what you do’, ‘keep it up buddy!’. People will occasionally start up conversations, which can really make your day.

No Guaranteed Paycheck. Unlike most jobs, with busking there is no guarantee that you’ll be getting money for your performance. You could be playing for 2 hours and receive nothing, no acknowledgement, not a drop. No-one has to give you money, they choose to because they want to support music in the streets and your journey, or because they enjoy your music and have had a positive experience from your presence. So if everyone who walks past your act isn’t interested, then chances are low you’ll be having a profitable day.
I’m not saying busking makes no money, because most of the time it’s very profitable, but you can’t go out expecting to make lots of money as you have no control on who will donate.

It’s hard work. Busking is a very under looked way of performing and making money, and it can be a lot of hard work. Depending on your act, your lifestyle and your financial circumstances, you’ll have to perform as many hours as a day as you can. Which is both awesome, but tiring. You’ve got to keep your head up, stay positive and know why you’re busking, once you realise you’re reason to busk, you’ll always be motivated to keep on playing.

Even though with each ‘con’, I’ve included a positive outlook on it, these 5 reasons are what makes busking difficult and why you may be unsure if you want to take up busking yourself. But below are all the ‘pros’ from busking, all of which make the difficulties worth going through.

Pros

Connection with People. Being out in the midst of towns and cities, where people spend their days shopping, seeing friends/family, working, commuting and living. You’ll meet people from all walks of life, and you get to connect with them in a very personal and intimate way. A place where new friendships and connections will spark.
The people you meet may be following your art and your journey for a very long time afterwards, so being able to personally meet your new fans gives you a stronger connection with/understanding of, who your fans are and why they like what you do.

Travel! Busking gives you the opportunity to take your art anywhere you’d like to go (within reason). You can busk in most countries, so if you wanted to go check out New Zealand for a few months, get on over their and busk your way around! It’s a platform for any artist to jump on board and go travel. The income from it will allow you to book flights, accommodation and get yourself some grub (food is occasionally donated! Whilst busking Europe with the Wishing Well, there were plenty of times when we’d play outside a restaurant and they’d welcome us to a meal and drinks on the house!).

Practice. With being out performing for so long, you’ll be getting yourself a lot of practice in! You’ll be able to test new material and really improve your instrument capability. With busking someplace cold during the winter, if you’re a musician it’ll really strengthens your fingers (I’ve pushed myself during cold nights to play long and difficult stuff – it’s really improved the strength of my fingers, I can hold bigger chord shapes for longer and tap very hard with both hands). But be warned it is hard when temperatures get as low as 2°C, that’s where the thermal fingerless gloves, I linked earlier, help out loads.
Not only will you get practice at your act, you’ll also get better at performing and communicating. You’ll build the confidence to perform longer, in various locations and in front of very different audiences, you’re basically playing a show where everyone’s invited and some people may really not like the show – but you learn to face this negativity and build a thick skin. Also meeting new people everyday, you’ll get better at communicating with people interested in your music, you’ll hear stories from people who are artists themselves or know an artist and artists they’ve met and what your kind of art means to them.
The best! You get paid to practice!!

Broaden Your Audience. Your art is shown to every kind of person there is, which attracts new groups of fans and vastly increases your audience. You’ll be surprised with who likes what you do, solo Doom Metal Guitarist? an elder lady may really enjoy Doom Metal and appreciate you being out busking and start headbanging like shes at a festival! – something you wouldn’t expect!
This may change your view on how to market your art, it’ll help define what kind of audience you attract. So if anything even a few busking sessions will be useful market research. It may also open doors to performing in venues, events and places you wouldn’t otherwise think of.

Get Paid to do What You Love! If you’ve got dreams and goals set for your art, and the long game you want to make a living from it! This platform – BUSKING, will give you a very good head start into that and excel your path. Just being out there among people, this is me, this is what I do, this is what I want to give to the world, will bring you opportunities and give you the results to feed your belief.
Whilst you’re busking, the money people donate is given to you because you’re doing what you love! I can’t think of any better reason than this to go and busk!

– you have the potential to go out there and connect with people –
– take action and do it –
– the results will open many doors –
– leading to more belief about your potential –
– repeat and see yourself develop –

I would love to hear your stories on busking, what you see as pros and cons for it and if this blog post has inspired you to busk – I’d love to hear more about your experience!

If you enjoy this blog post and if it’s benefited you in anyway, you can help support my journey
by directly donating to – paypal.me/jameschatfield
(any donation will receive a musical download!)
or
by purchasing music from my BandCamp page.

Feel free to contact me about anything – basschatfield@gmail.com

Have a positive week!
Think healthy happy thoughts and live a healthy happy life! 

All the best,

James x

 

Where My Heart Belongs/Crazy Crump

Where my Heart Belongs – A recently uploaded solo bass track. Written on the feeling of being re-united with my Warwick Bass after being away from it for 5 months on a European tour as a Session bassist for Australian Folk Band The Wishing Well (Busking band who’ve been touring Europe, Australia, America for the past 15 years, there’ll be more blog posts on the busking adventures with these guys! As I’ve learnt a lot from them on the world of busking!).
Picking up this bass after so long was such an insanely good feeling! Writing on this made me release where my heart belongs and where I want to take my life, my music and the ones that are close to my heart. I think when you get a feeling like this, you’ve got to go all the way and complete the goals your mind and soul tell you. So whatever it is that you feel inside, just go do it, do it with all your heart and all your energy and don’t stop giving the world everything you have!

IMG_3173Writing and playing solo bass was one of the biggest things I missed while being away on tour, of course I missed my family and friends (mostly my Dog – Roxy! How could I not?! Look at her she’s the coolest dog around!).
I see music as an amazing way to express yourself and a medicine for everything, and when I play solo bass, it really helps me express myself to the fullest.

Busking in Stourbridge is always fun as I usually get approached by a very happy crazy drunken fool, I don’t know what his actual name is but lets call him ‘Crazy Crump’. So when ‘Crazy Crump’ approaches, you don’t see him first you hear him, he has this light and high pitched ‘ahya ahya’ laugh followed by many ‘yeah, yeah, yeahhh’. I heard him coming the other day, he was in a singing mood and came very close to me singing very loudly, singing about birds and sunshine in a different world, he got right in my face singing over some very mellow bass loops. (Which was described as ‘like water’ – love that, I really want to use that as an EP/Album title and compose a bunch of watery loop pieces – to do). At this point there were a lot of children coming out from school so town was busy which meant this unexpected duo drew a crowd, I’m sure there’s video evidence on someones SnapChat story or Instagram feed. It’s funny when things like this happen, it’s enjoyable to watch him enjoy himself so much, he was swaying his arms around and really belting it, he was making both me and many people passing by laugh, so there’s no harm from him. After he stopped singing he did try to put his hands all over my bass, which I’m not too cool with, so I told him to not do that and he laughed ‘ahyah ahyah, yeah yeah yeahh’, and just stood and watched for a while. He realised there was a loop playing and was like;
“You’re not even playing, ahyah ahyah, listen he’s better than you are (referring to the loop). Ahyah ahyah, listen he’s playing that and then you’re playing that. Now’s he stopped! (stopping the loop and starting to play another loop), now he’s playing again ahyah ahyah, what’s he doing? Is he better than you? Ahyah ahyah, yeah yeah yeahhh he is ahyah ahyah, he is!!”. He found this whole looping situation hilarious and was under the impression that we were having some sort of guitar duel. He went on to tell me stories about his life how he isn’t getting enough money to buy enough beers and ‘cocaine’ – probably where the crazy energy is sourced. He insisted that I stop and go get some beers together. Carrying on playing whilst he tells me this, he stops and puts his ear closer to the bass.
“Hey, hold up! I know this one, yeah yeah, I know this one. Who’s it by? Go on who’s this one?”, I was just improvising some stuff and he started singing the melody I was playing like he knew it already. “Ahyah ahyah, yeah yeah yeahhh, I know this one! Who’s it by? Ah I can’t think.” It’s by James Chatfield I said “That’s it yeah! I knew it, he’s dead now isn’t he, he was an old one! Good tune! I knew him, ahyah ahyah yeah yeah yeahhh I know this one”….wait I’m dead? What?! so apparently I’m some sort of reanimation of another James Chatfield who wrote this tune that I’m just improvising. ‘Crazy Crump’ is just …… After I finished busking I saw him again at the train station, beer in hand, swaying around, he saw me and kept shouting “Yeah yeah yeahhh, play another song! Go on, play one more now!” I just smiled and waved, stood at the train station I could see his head jumping up and down from behind a wall waving at me. I do wonder what would of happened if we went for a beer, oh lord ahyah ahyah!

As I mention a lot, you meet a lot of people while playing in the streets, from these crazy fools to lovely pensioners to musicians from all ages. Basically every type of person there is, you’ll meet in some form whilst busking. Which is great, it’ll for sure boost your confidence in talking and interacting with strangers, you’ve got to take all of these encounters in a positive way.

I realise this post has been uploaded later than expected! I’ve been busking the entire day and spent the night cooking curry for my Nan (tasty chickpea, spinach, mushroom curry!!) and playing snooker with my Dad and little brother. So I had little time to tweak and post in the day, but finishing it all now!

I hope you’ve enjoyed another busking story from myself! Stick around as there’s more to come! 🙂

 

If you enjoy my blogs and music, you can help support my journey
by directly donating to – paypal.me/jameschatfield
(any donation will receive a musical download!)
or
by purchasing music from my BandCamp page.

 

Feel free to contact me about anything – basschatfield@gmail.com

Have a positive week!
Think healthy happy thoughts and live a healthy happy life! 

All the best,

James x

 

Busking-Travelling-Composing-Performing-Bass’ing :)

Busking, travelling, composing, performing, bass’ing and other related subjects – is what you’ll get from these blogs I will be writing from now until I no longer own a device on which I can write an online blog. I’m going to be documenting my journey through music and expressing emotions and feelings of living the life as a travelling musician. I’ll capture and share stories/music from the people I meet through the journey. There’ll be a minimum of one blog post a week, the flow and consistency will develop over time, but I feel I’ve been holding it off for a while – and if there’s something you want to do-do it now! So I’m doing it right now, I don’t have any plan for this particular post, but I guess it’s an introduction into my thoughts, feelings and recent adventures.

I have recently been feeling very low and down on life, not wanting to give up, but realising it’s hard, life is hard. But you’ve always got to keep your head up and DO, even when you really don’t feel like doing it, put yourself through the motions of ‘DO’ing and you strengthen your capacity to DO. JUST DO! 
When feeling like this quite recently whilst out busking, I’d been playing for just under 2 hours and was feeling unsure about continuing. When a man sat beside me with a bottle of squash and listened for a very long time, finishing a song I turned to him and smiled. Returning the smile he went on to say, “Thank you, thank you for being here right now at this moment. I’ve had a really rough couple of days and this right now has made me happy, it’s made my life better. Thank you“, he gave me some money and smiled. Thanking him I told him to keep his head up in the dark times, expressing my gratitude for this moment, passing him a CD and telling him, that all I want to do is spread positivity and happiness to people. We spoke about life and constantly moving forward no matter what, that ‘Darkness exists to make light truly count’-Sleeping at Last . He smiled and before leaving said, “Thank you, it’s not just the music and technicality of it that I like, it’s your spirit. Keep doing this, please“. I could see he was holding in tears, it must be some real rough times for him and I wish him the best in that, I hope to see him again and pass a smile of encouragement and hope. Writing about this brings tears to my eyes, life is hard, but I’m not giving up with my dreams and goals, knowing that I made a difference to this persons life makes everything worth it, it gives me a boost in belief, all I want to do is spread positivity and joy and give love to this world we live in.
So whatever it is you believe in your heart and soul, go out there and do it. Make your world a better place! 

On a more positive feeling I’ve been thinking a lot about progression, I feel I need to really work hard at my craft and progress as a musician, composer and person. To do that requires documenting your self and evaluating everything you do, to monitor your mind and learn how your mind works and change it to better yourself. So I’m making a conscious effect to improve and become a better me, I will do this with daily recordings/videos which I can look back on and see what I need to do more of and what less of. This blog will also be a place for me to keep track of my progression, I’m sure the more blogs I do the better they’ll become.

Another positive note – I’ve been making CD’s and getting help from my little sister Starr. She’s getting a commission for each CD that sells that she designed. It’s cool to collaborate with the family and design artwork together, because everyone can draw, and everyone has a unique drawing style. That’s why I’ve fallen in love with art, it’s such a personal way to express your true self, with it you show the world the full true you.
If you like the look of these CD’s please feel free to send me a message/email and we can arrange a delivery for you! 🙂

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Here’s a great picture from ‘Anthony Pearson’, who caught me busking in Worcester on a Sunday afternoon 🙂

Busker

I want to end this blog with this;
By many people I get told to “Keep doing what you’re doing“, I’m so grateful for these comments, it’s like a hint from the universe that I’m doing what I was set out to do. I feel it in my heart and soul, I see the path that I will take and I know deep down that this is all I have and what I was set out to do. I want to give life everything I have and die empty knowing that I’ve given all I can. Find your passion and give everything you have to the world around you! Be grateful and keep moving forward! 

Keep doing what you do best! 

All the best

James x

The Daily Bass Busking Videos

So for a while I’ve been posting videos of me doing bass things onto YouTube as often as I can. A lot of them are during busking sessions, as I tend to do a lot of my ‘bass things’ on the streets. Daily Bass – currently on 46 videos (todays) came about by wanting to challenge myself with on-the-spot composing, trying to differ my approaches to songwriting and create a pallet of different sounds. It’s nice to flick back through all the videos and see developments and watch my own journey, I kind of like the idea of it being a video journal of my journey with music, plus it gives anyone who’s recently discovered/and likes my music, a whole tonne of stuff for them to check out! ( So if you’ve just discovered me, there’s plenty of me on YouTube 😀 ). Also it’ll be nice to show my children (When and if I have children.), “Hey look this is what your Dad got up too!“.

 

This video is an audio recording from my Q2 – which I take busking and tape most of my busking session, it’s a great way to keep track of new ideas and also it sounds nice with the ambience of the streets passing by. Unfortunately whilst busking in Stourbridge, a guy living on the streets didn’t like my presence and began threatening me quite aggressively – you’ll find an audio snippet at the end of the track. This was the first time he threw his anger towards me, and I’ve been back a few times and it has elevated, to quite recently when he came with others and said he’d break my stuff the next time he sees me. On that, I’ve stopped busking in Stourbridge, which is sad as I’ve met a lot of people there and it’s a lovely place to busk. I’ve tried being as nice as I can to this guy, I’ve given him tea/food before, tried to come to some agreement where I play nowhere near him, but he wasn’t happy with anything I said and continues to dislike me. 😦

Busking in London with Carlos Browne, a very good friend and a super good drummer. I’ve always making music with him! We took a trip to London for the weekend for busking and to meet up with friends at the London Bass Guitar Show. This is mostly solo bass, but Carl joins me at ‘7:30’.

A trip up to Manchester for busking, beautiful City! It was the first time ever going to the City Center and it welcomed my music very well, I sold a lot of CDs here and met a bunch of other buskers. It ticks off a ‘to-do’ on my list from the blog post 2017: Year of the Busker

Donations of Another Sort

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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;
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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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 –