I knew this would be good, but not quite this good.
And I’m not discussing the Olympics (although I am sure at some point I will).
I own a keyboard now. I could do with one of the computer variety (as having to type my Swedish in google translate) is a tiny bit frustrating, but I of course mean the musical one.
I am able to use this to play music, and sing, outside, and that is what I have been doing. Stockholm is very, very lonely outside of term time (and I think most of the ‘normal people’ – a very loose definition anyway – have left) and this is something I have wanted to do for many years. I even remember sitting on a bench near where I lived in Rochdale telling myself it is something I want to do.
It is not that scary. But then, I’ve thrived on performing to a packed Sixth Form Centre with songs I had written, 150 pairs of eyes staring in awkward 17-year-old bemusement, giggling and deciding the coolest thing to do was to throw rubbers at me. This is actually pleasant.
I’m not though, as you would say, busking. I certainly don’t want any money or anything from it from passers-by. I want to brighten their day. I hope they will remember me. It’s not really even street performance, some of the time I’m messing on the keyboard writing songs. Some of the time I’m practicing new songs, and if it goes wrong I’m trying again, not just carrying on as I would do in performing mode. But they are around, and enjoying the artistry.
I started off by a little shoreline reasonably close to where I’m living at the moment. Very quiet, maybe 2 or 3 people walking past at a time, and many gaps where you are by myself. It is a beautiful spot that is so underused (but that is probably just because there are so many of them here!). I set up the keyboard looking over the water, took out my book of song chords (yes, they are all Eurovision songs, but I need to learn all of them this week for a special performance…) and it was great. Swedish social awkwardness and lagom-ness means the default setting is to walk past unaware of it, which is just want I want. However, one (attractive) girl did find it cute/funny/silly/whatever and took a photo, waved and moved on.
Today I went down to where I am performing next week. Just to check it out. Found a nice spot. Again, mainly people walking through which was great. I got surprised though by a couple who were watching and clapping each song (Lost and Forgotten moved them on) and I had a stunted although pleasant chat with a group of friends who were out there.
I was going to go home, but they inspired to do a bit more, and I was in a creative songwriting mood. And I found something very good. I picked a genius spot north south of the Opera House, so very central Stockholm, but down on the waterside, a little boat enclave. This meant I could look out on the water and not have to interact, but also meant people would not mind congregating and watching. It was really fun. In making stuff up I realized it was inspired genius – taking in new ideas I picked up through the day, and I loved it and, well, it could work…
It’s fun to be different, and be liked for it. I’m doing it again. I think though, I want to broaden my repertoire. Waterline might be nice and enjoyable but doesn’t really do anything for audience enjoyment. I need some big musical theatre songs; hopefully they won’t be too hard to play. Also, I think I might need to make a sign of some description. To explain who I am and what I am all about.
It would be extra nice for this to be a way to make friends, maybe more, after all. Maybe it can brighten my life for more than just the moment. I want to be the fun, welcoming, interesting street performer – to even stand out from the crowd that they stand out from.
This is a great start to what might be my new summer tradition.