The Noise Challenges have been an prompt to listen more closely to the sounds around me, and in many cases to record them. But the act of recording – no matter how well intentioned – has always felt slightly parasitic. Perhaps that’s too strong a word, perhaps ecouteristic (rather than voyeuristic) would be closer. Certainly it involves me attending to the unwitting “performances” of individuals and objects and nature, and passing that experience through the prism of what I feel and know.
This challenge was a chance to create some noise myself, maybe even an inadvertent “performance”, and not to watch, listen and record, but to let someone else do the responding. So I did something I haven’t done for nearly 30 years, something I last did on the London Underground. I busked.
There are several well-recognised busking pitches in town, and I didn’t want to damage anyone’s income, so I chose three other locations, all slightly removed from traffic but not from footfall, and sat down and played. I even used the same guitar I busked with before. I wasn’t busking for money this time, though, so my case stayed shut and there was no cap on the floor. Instead, I received:
* 2 thumbs ups
* 4 nods of approval
* 1 small dance
* many, many smiles
* several interesting conversations
* 1 biscuit (slightly dribbled on – I said I would eat it later, but I didn’t)
* some advice
* 2 compliments
* and slight sunburn on my forehead and nose
I felt well rewarded.
I also made a point of improvising throughout. Sometimes the best way to create something is just to start, and the Noise Challenges have been a great spur to do this. I often felt I didn’t have time to do them, or do them justice, but I did them anyway and was glad afterwards. I’ve enjoyed participating and I’ve enjoyed the other creations, many of them utterly unexpected.
I might even go busking again.