Day 2: I’m trying to get warm.
A man in a blue shirt. He gave me a crisp £5 note. He asked me to wait until his wife came out of the Clintons card shop and then play “Be My Baby.” Why not?
A lady with dark hair sat and listened to the first two or three songs I played. She looked bored, depressed, sullen. She stood up and put a £5 note in my case and then she was gone.
I went busking today. I can’t go every day. I need time to heal after each performance. I can do 3 a week, 4 at a push. That’s enough.
You would have thought it’d be my fingers or my voice that needed a rest after a 3 hour shift of standing there aping Zevon, Reed, Young, and Simon to all and sundry— no, it’s more like my legs. And my soul.
In a heartbeat I would pack the whole thing in and spend my day writing, but I don’t yet have the luxury of being able to do that. And if I have to do something for immediate monetary gain, busking it is. Besides, once this album starts to come together I can test the new songs out on the mean streets of central Sheffield. That’s something.
I often wonder where my life would have gone if I’d never fallen into busking all those years ago. I’ve been reading “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” by Milan Kundera. To paraphrase Kundera, I only have one life to live, so it’s impossible to see what would have become of me if I’d never gone.
And it’s the same thing with trying to write songs. I have to pick a direction and not wonder what might have happened if I’d used a different chord or rhymed “love” with “glove” instead of “dove.”
I’ll never know. So I try not to think about it.
When I was done on the streets I headed down to Bank Street Arts to carry on writing this damn album. It wasn’t any easier today. I’ll do it — I’m sure of that — but I really don’t see how.
It started with a green tea. I’d forgotten about green tea.
And I did crank out a couple of songs. I won’t use them, but I’m trying to get warm.
The room I was working in today is full of novels and poetry collections. I posted a picture of some books and my friend Tony commented that in true Bowie fashion (and before him William Burroughs, if I recall) I could dive in to these pages and take words and phrases that grab me and then jab them together to make my own songs.
I might stock up on some 3x5 cards in the morning and do just that.