Monday, August 28, 2006

Note to Tim: It's pronounced "uh-SHOW-ken."

Curse the lack of a schwa on this keyboard.

Unless you're working with teenagers, in which case "Ashcan Farewell" works just fine.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Played in Back Bay; there was a man down there panhandling, as in just going up and (very softly) asking people for change. I think he asked me as I was getting off the train, but since he was behind me and very soft-spoken, I didn't really register it until a couple minutes later.

So I'm busking, and he's lurking around at the base of the stairs asking people for money, and I'm thinking this is probably hurting my income since people who aren't giving him money probably aren't going to be pulling out their wallets right next to him to give me money.

Then a guy comes up, and since I was playing, I couldn't hear him very well, but as far as I could tell, he was giving Mr. Panhandler a talking-to about responsibility and how, when I was asking strangers for money, I was earning it, and he should be ashamed to be upstaged by a woman (it was a guy-to-guy sort of talk, so I didn't take offense). Then he gave me a dollar and gave Mr. Panhandler the silver he had.

Then he stood there and listened to me intently until the next train came, and showed me a picture of his parents, and told me about how he just found out a couple months ago that he's part Irish, and ran through the mix of African, Native American, and European blood in his family.

Then the train came. Nice guy, really.


So I'm trying to figure out what T stations are favorable to busk at in the winter, since many aren't heated. North Station and South Station should be fine, Government Center probably, Back Bay will depend on the weather. Stony Brook will probably be right out (sorry, Stony Brookians; I've been gone for a couple weeks again, but I'll be back Friday, hopefully...I would have come this Friday, but I was accosted by a very friendly kitten). I don't want to go too far out on the Red Line, and I understand Harvard is quite competitive anyway. Park Street and Downtown Crossing just aren't comfortable places to fiddle. (Park Street Red Line might be OK, but it's almost always taken).

I'm open to suggestions, from those of you what might ride the T to places I normally don't.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Fiddler Lives!

In case anyone was wondering, all is well in Fiddlerland. My non-fiddling life became very busy, for positive reasons, for a little while there, and during that time I got a respectable sunburn on my shoulders, which meant that playing was a little too painful for me to care to attempt. But it's healing nicely, and I'm resuming my fiddling schedule as of today.

Would be nice if it stopped raining sometime this afternoon, but that may be too much to hope for.


At South Station a couple weeks ago, a young professional male came down the stairs, glared at me, snapped "*something unintelligible* You're annoying!" and stalked off.

I felt bad for myself for a few seconds, and then I felt sorry for him that his day was already going so poorly that he had to insult a random stranger before 9AM.

Also a nice man who heard him said, "Well, I like, sorry I don't have any money."

Incidentally, nobody should feel obligated to apologize for not having money or choosing not to tip.

You, sir, however...yes, the one who walked by me flipping through a money clip with at least a couple Ben Franklins, among smaller bills? That was just cruel.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The heat from Hades kept me off the streets and out of the subway most of this week, so I don't have a great deal to report. (My big boss at my day job basically told me not to busk. Not that he has any power over what I do in my off time, but it was kind of him to think of me.)


One woman said that my version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" was "the saddest I've ever heard." I wasn't really going for sad, but I do play it on the slow side and a little syrupy, so I suppose I can see that. It's a melancholy sort of song anyway.


I was playing on City Hall Plaza (incidentally, the garish blue 9/11 memorial panels are gone. Not sure of the backstory there) and a woman tipped me and said, "Thank you for making Boston a better place." That was a warm fuzzy.


Very small children are extremely cute in their tipping because they come toddling up and try to hand me the tip while I'm playing, which doesn't so much work, what with my hands both being busy. Their parents usually set them right.


A guy named Mark, who appeared to be in his mid-40s at youngest was telling me his sob story about having just gotten back from Iraq and as soon as he got back, his wife divorced him so he doesn't have a house anymore, and he hasn't eaten in a day and a half and so on. I ended up giving him three dollars out of my case because I'm a soft touch. (This is not a suggestion, because if this happens frequently, I'm liable to turn sarcastic, and that never ends well.)